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ACTON IN HISTORY. 



COMPILED FOE THE MIDDLESEX COUNTY HISTORY. 

PUBLISHED BY 

J. W. LEWIS & CO., OF PHILADELPHIA, 

with 

MAP AND ILLUSTRATIONS ADDITIONAL, 

i; v 

REV. JAMES ELETCHER. 



Copyright is!hi isy J, W. Lewis Go., transferred ro Rev. .ia.mks Fletcher. 




PHILADELPHIA am. BOSTON: 
J. W. LEWIS & CO., 
1890. 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE. 



Thanks are hereby expressed to the publishers, J. W. Lewis & ('(>.. of Philadelphia, 
for their generosity and courtesy in providing the printed extras for the Acton Local, a1 such 
reduced rates. 

To the owners of the expensive c'hoice steel plates, — for the tree use of the same. 

To Rev. F. I'. Wood, for his accommodation in the matter of engraving blocks. To 
the Pratt Brothers, for their indulgence in the same line. 

To George C. Wright, for furnishing the new photo-electrotype block of the oil painting 
of ('apt. Isaac Davis' wife, which has never before been printed for the public eve. The oil 
painting was a remarkable likeness of the venerable lady, taken by the best artist when she 
was in her 92d year. It was photographed by Mr. Wright, several years ago in New York, 
where he found it with some of the descendants. He has had this photograph photo-eleetro- 
typed for the uses of the Acton Local. It is a rare, historic gem. 

Thanks are also due to Mrs. Winthrop E. Faulkner for the photo-electrotype engraving 
of the crayon sketch of her husband, a fine facsimile of the original. 

To Arthur H. Cowdry, M. I)., of Stoneham, for the block of his father, so highly prized 
by all. 

To lion. William A. Wilde, who again has shown his appreciation of his birthtown by 
the gilt of the frontispiece picture of this book, and also of the photo-electrotype of his own 
person. 

To Horace F. Tattle, for his gratuitous services, of the last winter months, in drawing 
and compiling the original for the lithographic map of Acton. 

To the public in general, for their response, in interest and subscriptions, to the work, 
which is now submitted to them in trust. 

JAMES FLETCHER. 

Acton, Mass.. Dec. 1^. 18U0. 



ACTON IN HISTORY. 



COMPILED BY REV. JAMES FLETCHER. 



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257 


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Mrs. John Hapgood's Sketch of West Acton 


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PHILADELPHIA AND BOSTOX: 
.1. W. LEWIS & ('(>.. 
1^00. 



AN 

HISTORICAL SKETCH 

OF THE 

TOWN OF ACTON. 



BY 

REV. JAMES FLETCHER. 



REPRINTED FROM THE "HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS 



AN HISTORICAL SKETCH 

OF THE 

TOWN OF ACTON. 



The hope of rescuing from the wreck of oblivion some of the precious | 
relics of the past has been the solace of care in the preparation of this work. 

Hearty thanks are here expressed and acknowledgments made to those ' 
who have contributed with the pen anil the memory in aid of the sketch. 

William D. Turtle, Esq., the town clerk, and his son, Horace P., have 
rendered important assistance in gathering facts from the town records. 

The historical map prepared by Horace F. Tuttle for the history, and 
which it was hoped could be published in the same, is a valuable acquisi- 
tion for future reference lis important items are given. It should be 
printed and doubtless will be soou. Rev. Dr. Knowlton, Rev. F. 
P. Wood, Rev. Mr. Heath, A. A. Wyman, Esq., Horace Hosnier and his 
daughter Bertha, Deacon Samuel Hosnier, Mrs. John Hapgood, Mrs. 
Lottie Klagg, Luther Conant, Esq., Moses Taylor, Esq.. and Luke Smith 
have rendered essential service in gathering up the fragments that 
nothing be lost. 

The Centennial address of Josiah H. Adams, Esq., Shattuck's " History 
of Concord " and the "Colonial History " of Charles H.C. Walcott have 
been freely consulted in the compilation. 

The history of Acton seems to the writer in the review like a romance 
dropped freshly from the skies. It is in reality a plain tale of persons 
and events which have consecrated for all time this locality. 

James Fletcher. 

Coloxial Period. — Acton, tweuty-four miles 
northwest of Boston, has on the north Littleton and 
Westford ; on the east Carlisle and Concord ; on the 
south Sudbury. Maynard and Stow ; and on the 
west Boxboro' and Littleton. 

Acton at its incorporation, July 21, 1735, was 
bounded by Sudbury, Concord, Billerica, Chelmsford, 
Westford, Littleton and Stow, which then included 
Boxborough. The principal part of what is now 
Carlisle, then belonging to Old Concord, was set off 
as a part of the new town, Acton. 

The Carlisle District of Acton was incorporated as 
a separate town in 1780; the easterly part of Old 
Concord was incorporated in the new town of Bed- 
ford in 1729 ; and the southerly part of Old Concord 
was incorporated in the new town of Lincoln in 1754, 
so that from 1754 to 1780 the township of Acton was 
larger than that of Concord, though much behind in 
wealth and population. At the time of Concord's in- 
corporation, in 1635, what is now the Acton territory 
was not a part of Concord, but was granted to Con- 
cord a few years after by the name of the " Concord 
Village," or the new grant covering nearly the pres- 
ent boundaries of Acton. The Willard Farms in- J 
eluded in the act incorporating Acton in 1735 had, 
previous to that act, been granted to Concord. 

When Acton was made a town the statute bounded } 
it on the east by " Concord old Bounds,'' from which 
it appears, as before stated, that it includes no part of 
the original Concord and that the dividing line be- I 



tween the two towns is a portion of the old Concord 
on that side. 

The Acton boundary extended leads to a heap of 
lichen-covered boulders, surmounted by a stake. 

This ancient monument is near the top of a hill 
in the southwesterly part of Carlisle, and undoubtedly 
marks the old northwest corner of Concord. 

It was identified and pointed out to Chas. H. Walcott, 
of Concord, on the ground by Major B. F. Heald, of 
Carlisle, who says that he has often heard his father and 
other ancient men, long since deceased, speak of this 
bound as marking the old Concord corner. 

Everything goes to corroborate this testimony. The 
place was commonly known by the name of " Berry 
Corner," and was the original northeast corner of 
Acton, but in 1780 (statute passed April 28, 1780) a 
portion of that town near this point was included in 
what was then constituted the District of Carlisle, 
and subsequently formed a part of the town of the 
same name (Carlisle did not acquire all the legal 
characteristics of a town until February 18, 1805—3 
Special Laws, 497). 

Thomas Wheeler and others who came to Concord 
about 1639, found the most convenient of the lands 
already given out, and in 1642 petitioned for a grant 
of land on the northwest, which was conceded on 
coudition that they improved the grant within two 
years. Most of the lands were granted to Concord 
for feeding. 

They were not very accurately defined, being found 
upon actual survey to contain a greater number of 
acres than nominally specified in the grants. 

A settlement was begun on these grants as early as 
1656 and possibly a few years earlier. The Shepherd 
and Law families were among the first settlers. 

Many of the meadows were open prairies affording, 
with little or no labor, grass in abundance. 

Some of the uplands had been cleared by the In- 
dians and were favorite places for feeding. In those 
days the " new grant " was familiarly called, and with 
some reason, " Concord's sheep pasture." 

In 1666, in pursuance of an order from the General 
Court, Richard Beers, of Watertown, and Thomas 
Noyes, of Sudbury, laid out the new grant, or Con- 
cord Village, as it was called, comprising the present 



ACTON. 



239 



territory of Acton and portions of Carlisle and Lit- 
tleton, and made their return in the following year. 

On January 12, 1669, a lease was made by Con- 
cord to Captain Thomas Wheeler, for the term of 
twenty-one years, of two hundred acres of upland 
and sixty acres of meadow, lying west of Nashoba 
Brook, in consideration of which he agreed to pay a 
yearly rent of £5 alter the expiration of the first 
seven years, and to build a house forty feet in length, 
eighteen feet wide and twelve feet stud, " covered 
with shingles, with a payer of chimnes," also a barn 
forty feet long, twenty-four feet wide, and twelve feet 
stud. These buildings were to be left at the end of 
the term tor the use of the town, with thirty acres of 
land in tillage and sufficiently fenced. 

He agreed further, and this was the main pur- 
pose of the lease, to receive and pasture the dry cattle 
belonging to the town's people, not to exceed one 
hundred and twenty in number nor to be fewer than 
eighty. 

The cattle were to be marked by their owners and 
delivered to Captain Wheeler at his house, and the 
price was fixed at two shillings a head, payable one- 
third in wheat, one-third in rye or pease, and one- 
third in Indian corn. 

The owners were to " keep the said herd twelve 
Sabboth dayes yearly, at the appointment and accord- 
ing to the proportion by said Thomas or his heires 
allotted." 

The number of cattle received under this agree- 
meut fell below the lowest limit, and, in January, 
1673, the terms of the contract were so modified that 
Captain Wheeler was entitled to receive one shilling 
per head. 

The town of Concord laid out a road to Thomas 
Wheeler's mill, the first grist-mill in Acton, located 
on the present site of Wetherbee's mill, as is proved 
by the foundations of the old mill found when dig- 
ging for the present mill. 

The canal now used is essentially the same as then 
used. 

The mill was tended for the most part by women. 
A Mrs. Joseph Barker had charge among the last. 

Going up from that site to the present saw-mill we 
find on the east side of the dam, near the road, the 
abutments of what were old iron works, called at the 
time a forge. 

Here they had a trip-hammer and other implements 
and conveniences for working in iron. Joseph Har- 
ris made the latches and the iron-work from this 
forge for the first meeting-house. 

The ore, which was smelted with charcoal, was bog 
iron ore found in the vicinity, some rods southwest. 
The building for the storing of the charcoal was a 
little distance up the old road going west, beyond the 
old walls. The charcoal bed is easily determined by 
striking a spade into the ground. 

The old road went south of the present saw-mill 
and wound around near the old wall up to the brook 



at the foot of the hill, and there followed up the 
stream on the right side. 

Captain Thomas Wheeler's house, supposed to be 
the first dwelling-house deserving the name, was 
west of the brook, not far from the wall where the 
old lilac bushes still stand, which belonged to hia 
garden plot. 

The spring near the brook, now enclosed in a bar- 
rel, was Captain Wheeler's well. There are evidences 
of an old orchard opposite on the south side of the 
brook. The Canadian plum-trees near by are said to 
have come from the stones of plums which the sol- 
diers brought on their return from Canada in the 
French and Indian War. 

Mrs. Joseph Barker, who tended the mill, lived at 
one time in Captain Wheeler's house. John Barker's 
house was a little to the right, on the east side of the 
stream, and farther west of Thomas Wheeler's house 
and bam . 

Captain Thomas Wheeler died in 1676, from 
wounds received in his fight with the Indians at 
Brookfield. He was born a leader of men in war 
and peace. The narrative of the expedition of Cap- 
tain Edward Hutchinson, after hostilities had begun 
at Plymouth, written by Captain Thomas Wheeler, is 
the epic of Colonial times. He was so associated 
with the first start in the settlement and business ac- 
tivities of Acton, before its incorporation, that we give 
space to the excellent synopsis of his narrative, by 
Charles H. Walcott, the Colonial historian of Con- 
cord : 

" Captain Hutchinson was commissioned by the 
Council at Boston to proceed to the Nipmuck coun- 
try, so called, in what is now Worcester County, and 
confer with the Indians there for the purpose of pre- 
venting, if possible, any extension of Philip's influ- 
ence in that direction. 

" Captain Thomas Wheeler, of Concord, who was 
already advanced in years, and had commanded the 
western troop of horse ever since its organization, 
was ordered to accompany Hutchinson with an escort 
of twenty or twenty-five men of his company. Ac- 
cordingly they set out from Cambridge and arrived 
at Quabaug, or Brookfield, on Sunday, August 1st. 
Here they received information that the Indians 
whom they expected to meet had withdrawn to a 
place about ten miles distant towards the northwest. 
A detachment of four men was sent forward to assure 
them of the peaceable character of the expedition, 
and a meeting was agreed upon for the next morn- 
ing, at eight o'clock, on a plain within three miles of 
the town. 

" There was some apprehension of treachery, but 
prominent citizens of Brookfield not only expressed 
confidence in the good intentions of the savages, but 
declared their own willingness to be present at the 
conference, and Hutchinson decided that theappoint- 
I ment must be kept. The Indians, however, did not 
I appear, and this fact, together with other suspicious 



240 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



circumstances, led the sagacious Wheeler to think 
that to venture further would be unwise. But 
Hutchinson was unwilling to abandon his mission 
with nothing accomplished, and, in deference to his 
wishes, the order was given to advance towards a 
swamp where the savages were supposed to be lurk- 
ing. 

" As they proceeded the narrowness of the path, 
with the swamp on one side and a rocky hill on the 
other, forced men and horses to march in single file. 

"Suddenly the war-whoop resounded, and the ad- 
vancing column was assailed by a volley of arrows and 
bullets discharged from behind trees and bushes, kill- 
ing eight men, wounding five, and throwing the line 
into disorder, which was materially increased by the 
difficulty of turning about or passing by in the strait- 
ened passage-way. 

" Captain Wheeler spurred his horse up the hillside, 
when, finding himself unhurt and perceiving that 
some of his men had fallen under the fire of the 
enemy, who were now rushing forward to finish their 
work, he turned about and dashed boldly forward to 
attack them. 

" The movement separated him for a few moments 
from his men. A well-directed shot killed his horse 
and brought the old man to the ground wounded, 
and it would soon have been all over with the brave 
captain, had not his son Thomas, who was also 
wounded, come to his rescue. 

"Quickly dismounting, he placed his father in the 
saddle, and ran by his side until he caught another 
horse that had lost his rider, and so the two escaped 
with their lives, but suffering severely from their 
wounds. 

" This was merely the beginning. Hutchinson had 
received a wound that caused his death in a few days, 
and now the task of extricating the command from 
its perilous situation devolved upon Captain Wheeler. 
It was performed in masterly fashion. Keeping to 
the open country and avoiding the woods, they re- 
traced their way, with the assistance of friendly In- 
dian guides, to the village of Brookfield, took posses- 
sion of one of the largest and strongest houses, and 
fortified as best they could. 

" They had not long to wait before the enemy ap- 
peared in superior numbers, and attacked the strong- 
hold with vigor. 

" The captain's disability brought to the front Lieu- 
tenant Simon Davis, another Concord man, who 
fought and prayed with a fervor that reminds one of 
the soldiers of Cromwell. To him, associated with 
James Richardson and John Fiske, of Chelmsford, 
the direction of affairs was entrusted. 

" Two men, dispatched to Boston for assistance, were 
unable to elude the vigilance of the besiegers, and 
were obliged to return. 

" The Indians piled hay and other combustibles 
against the side of the house and set fire to them, 
thus forcing the English to expose themselves in their 



efforts to extinguish the flames. Their bows shot 
arrows tipped with ' wild fire,' which alighted on the 
buildings within the enclosure and set them afire. 

" To get their combustible materials close to the 
walls, a remarkable engine, fourteen rods long, was 
> constructed by the savages of poles and barrels, which 
| they trundled forward on its menacing errand. For 
three days and nights this horrible warfare continued. 

"The besieged were compelled to witness the mutila- 
tion of their dead comrades who had fallen outside, 
and to endure as best they could the jeers and taunts 
of the foe. 

"Rain came to the assistance of the little band by 
putting out the fires of their assailants and rendering 
it difficult to kindle new ones. Davis, who is said to 
have been of a ' lively spirit,' exhorted his men to 
remember that God was fighting on their side, and to 
take good aim before firing. 

" The prayers and hymns of the soldiers, borne out 
on wings of fire and smoke, were answered by cries of 
the unregenerate heathen, who gave utterance to hid- 
eous groanings in imitation of the singing of psalms. 

"Twice did brave Ephraim Curtis attempt to make 
his way through the enemy's line to go for succor. 
Twice was he compelled to return baffled. The third 
time, by great exertion and crawling for a considera- 
ble distance on his hands and knees, he succeeded in 
reaching Marlborough, where he gave the alarm, and 
on the evening of the 4th the garrison was overjoyed 
at the arrival of their old neighbor and friend, Major 
Willard, with a force of forty-six soldiers and five 
Indians, who, hearing at Marlborough of their dis- 
tress, had altered his course to come to their relief. 

"Towards morning the Indians departed, having set 
fire to all the houses, except that which sheltered the 
whites. 

"It has already been stated that Captain Wheeler 
was severely wounded, and his son was detained at 
Brookfield for several weeks by the injuries he had 
received. 

" It is easy to believe that the Captain and the re- 
mainder of his troop received a hearty welcome on 
their return home. The town kept the 21st day ol 
October, 1675, as 'a day of praise and thanksgiving 
to God for their remarkable deliverance and safe re- 
turn.* It was a battle in which Concord men were 
foremost in the display of courage and the rarer qual- 
ities that constitute good leadership. 

" The Indians appear to have behaved very badly 
from the beginning. They were guilty of an unpro- 
voked and treacherous assault upon a party whose 
purpose was one of peace and friendship. The mis- 
sion was an honorable one and faithfully discharged; 
and Wheeler and his men are deserving of praise for 
all time as brave soldiers who acquitted themselves 
nobly under the most trying circumstances." 

Nathan Robbins appears to be the first owner of 
the land after Wheeler, and the land has passed from 
father to son ever since. 



ACTON. 



241 



Acts of Incorporation. — An act to incorporate 
the town of Acton, passed July, 17'i-j. 

" Whereas the inhabitants and proprietors of the Northwesterly part of 
Concord, in the County of Middlesex, culled the Village or New Grant, 
have represented to this court that they labor under great difficulties 
by reason of their remoteness from the place of public worship and 
therefore desire that they and their estates, together with the farms 
called Wlllard Farms, may beset off a distinct and separate township 
for which they have also obtained the consent of the town of Concord : 

" Be it therefore enacted by his Excellency the Governor, Council and 
Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the 
same, that, the said Northwesterly part of Cjncord, together with the 
said farms be, and hereby are set off, constituted and erected iuto a dis- 
tinct and separate township by the name of Acton, and agreeably to the 
following boundaries, namely, beginning at the Southwest corner of 
Concord old hounds, then Southwesterly on Sudbury and Stow line till 
itcoinesto Littleton line, then hounded Northerly by Littleton, West- 
ford and Chelmsford, then Easterly by Billerica till it comes to the 
Northwest corner of Concord old bounds anil by said boundi to the 
place first mentioned. 

"And that the inhabitants of the lands before described and bounded 
he and hereby are vented with all the town privileges aud immunities 
that the inhabitants of other towns within this Province are or by law 
ought to be vested with. 

•' Provided that the Slid inhabitants of the said town of Actou do, 
within three years from the publication of this Act, erect and finish a 
suitable house for the public worship of God and procure and settle a 
learned orthodox minister of good conversation aud make provision for 
his comfortable and honorable support." 

This vicinity was called Concord Village in those 
days. 

Here was a happy, independent, industrious com- 
munity, owning their lands, worshiping God in their 
own way and educating their children. 

For seventeen years all went well, till Sir Edmund 
Andros appeared in Boston and tried to overthrow 
the charter which was served by the people as their 
safeguard and protection. 

He prohibited town-meetings except once a year to 
choose officers. 

Puritan flesh and blood could not stand this. Their 
town-meetings meant business, and now they were 
ordered to give them up. Taxes were laid without 
consulting those who were to pay them, and, worst 
of all, Andros declared all land titles null and void. 

When the people showed their deeds from the In- 
dians he said he cared no more for an Indian's signa- 
ture than he did for the scratch of a bear's paw. 

Then they pleaded what we in late days have 
called squatter sovereignty. But he said that no 
length of possession could make valid a grant from 
one who had no title. 

Then the people rose to defend their homes and the 
rights of Englishmen. 

On the 19th of April, 1689, the Concord Company, 
commanded by John Heald, the first selectman of 
Acton after its incorporation, marched to Boston to 
assist in the revolt which overthrew the Andros gov- 
ernment. 

In this way the men of Concord and Acton ante- 
dated the original 19th of April, which has since be- 
come the red-letter day in our history. 

The First Meeting-House.— We will retrace our 
steps by the old Brooks tavern, to the spot opposite 
16 



where now stands the stately school building of the 
Centre District. 

We will have to pause a long time here before com- 
prehending the situation. It is the spot where stood 
for seventy years that old landmark of the past — the 
first meeting-house of the town of Acton. 

If you have seen the striking picture in the 
pamphlet of the centennial celebration, you will have 
been helped to an impression of the house and its 
surroundings. 

You must stand yourself on that hill of Ziou, for 
such it was to our early forefathers, and view the 
landscape o'er. On the south is the road that leads 
through the woods to the resting-place of the dead. 
On the east rises Annursneak Hill, hiding from view 
the peaceful homes of Mother Concord. 

To the north of Annursneak is Strawberry Hill, 
whose brow strikes but eight feet below the brow of the 
former, having a view more commanding and more 
accessible. To the north and west are the delectable 
Hills, and towering above them all in the distance, 
Watatuck, Monadnock and Wachusett, old, familiar 
faces to every Acton boy and girl. 

The building of this meeting-house is associated 
with the organization of Acton as a separate incor- 
porated town. (See act of incorporation.) The location 
and erection of a meeting-house soon began to agitate 
the people. In October of the year of incorporation it 
was voted not to build that year, but " to set the 
meeting-house in the Center." By the centre was 
meant the point of intersection of lines drawn to the 
extreme limits of the town. This decision was not 
satisfactory to all the inhabitants. 

At a meeting holden November 10, 1735, it was pro- 
pounded whether the town would not reconsider their 
vote to have the meeting-house in the centre, and 
" agree to set it at some place near the center for con- 
venience.'' It was voted not to reconsider. It was 
also voted not to do anything towards building the 
meeting-house the ensuing year. 

At a meeting on the first Monday in December the 
same year it was again proposed to the town to re- 
consider the previous action, with reference to the lo- 
cation. The article was dismissed. But the minority 
had another meeting warned for December 29th, " To 
see if the Town will reconsider thar vote that they 
will set thare meeting-house in the Center, and agree 
to set it on a knowl with a grate many Pines on it, 
Laying South Easterly about twenty or thirty Rods 
of a black oak tree, whare the fire was made the last 
meeting, or to se if the Town will agree to set thare 
meeting-house on a knowl the North of an oak tree 
whare they last met, or to see if the Town will chuse 
two or three men to say which of the places is most 
convenient, or to se if the Commity think that knowl 
whereon stands a dead pine between the two afore- 
said knowls, or to say which of the three places is 
most convenient." 

At this meeting the location was changed to the 



242 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX 



COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



first "knowl" mentioned in the warrant. The site of 
the first meeting-house (a little to the south of where 
the Centre School-house now stands, near the two 
elms) was twenty or thirty rods southeast of the geo- 
graphical centre of the town, as it was before the in- 
corporation of Carlisle. 

At the meeting which finally decided the location 
of the house, it was voted to begin that year and the 
dimensions were fixed upon. 

The house was to be forty-six by thirty-eight feet 
in length and width and twenty feet in height. 

At the next meeting (January 2, 173G) the former 
vote was reconsidered, and the vote was to have the 
house forty-six by thirty-six and " 21 feet between 
joynts." 

Voted, " That all the inhabitants of the town should 
have the offer to work at giting the timber for the 
house by the Commity." 

Voted, "That Samuel Wheeler, Jonathan Parlin, 
Simon Hunt, John Shepherd and Daniel Shepherd 
be a Commity to manage ye affair of giting the tim- 
ber for ye meeting-house." 

Voted, " That the Commity should have six shil- 
lings per day for thar work, and the other Laborers 
five shillings per day." 

Voted, " That there should be a Rate of seventy 
pounds made and assessed on the inhabitants of the 
town of Acton towards setting up the frame of the 
house." 

May 10, 1736, it was voted " That the Selectmen 
should agree with Madam Cuming for ye land for ye 
meeting-house to stand on." 

The deed of the land of the first meeting-house in 
Acton was dated January 25, 1737, signed by "Anne 
Cummings, wife of Mr. Alexander Cummings, Sur- 
geon, now abroad, and attorney of said Alexander 
Cummings, being empow-ered and authorized by 
him." 

This deed is written in a bold, large-lettered style, 
and is very plain to read — as but few specimens of 
penmanship seen in ancient or modern times. 

It is in a fine state of preservation in the keeping 
of the town clerk. 

The style of it reminds one of John Hancock's 
signature to the Declaration of Independence. 

September 15, 173G, the town voted "To frame and 
Rai.-e thar meeting-house before winter, and John 
Heald, Thomas Wheeler and Simon H::nt were 
chosen a Commity impowered to Regulate and 
Inspect and order ye fnming and Raising ye meeting- 
house in Acton and like wise to agree with Carpen- 
ter or carpenters to frame ye house." 

At the same meeting it was decided to do nothing 
about preaching for the en-uing winter. 

November 1, 1736, Voted, " That they would board 
and shingle ye roofs and board and clap-board ye 
aides and ends, make window frames and casements 
and make ye door and crown of doors and windows, 
put troughs round, build ye pulpit and lay ye lower ' 



floor, ye work to be done by ye first of November 
next." 

May 30, 1737, Voted, "To underpin the meeting- 
house by working each man a day." 

Those who were delinquent were required to work 
a day " at high ways, by order of ye surveyor, more 
than thare equal part other ways wood have been." 

"The work of pinting the underpining was let out 
to Jonathan Billings for 2£ 10s., which work he 
engaged to do spedily and Do it Wei." 

Public worship was first held in the meeting-house 
in January, 1738. 

At the time of Mr. Swift's ordination, November, 
1738, it was far from being finished. 

May 15, 1745, Voted, " To raise twenty pounds, old 
tenor, for finishing the meeting house that year." 

Not till two years after this was the house com- 
pleted. One should read the several dates in order 
to get a full impression of the slowness and difficulty 
of building a meeting-house in those colonial times. 

There is a tradition that Lord Acton, of England, 
for whom the town may possibly have been named, 
offered a bell for the house of worship, but, having 
no tower, and the people feeling too poor to erect one, 
the present was declined. 

When the house was finished (so-called), in 1747, 
there were no pews, except on the lower floor adjoin- 
ing the walls of the house, and these were but sixteen 
in number. The four pews which were under and 
over each of the gallery stairs were built at intervals 
some years after. Several of the pew-holders from 
time to time obtained leave of the town to make a 
new window for their own accommodation and at 
their own expense. Each seems to have consulted 
his own fancy, both as to size and location. Little 
windows, in this way, of different sizes and shapes, 
came to be placed near the corners of the building. 

In the body of the house, on each side the broad 
aisle, were constructed what were then called the body 
seats, and these together with the gallery were occu- 
pied by all who, through poverty or otherwise, were 
not proprietors of a pew. 

Both in the body seats and in the gallery the men 
were arranged on the right of the pulpit and the women 
on tne left, so that while the pew-holder could sit with 
his wife at church, all others were obliged to keep at 
a respectful distance. 

The custom of "seating the meeting-house," as it 
was called, was found necessary, and was well calcu- 
lated to prevent confusion and to insure particularly 
to the aged a certain and comfortable seat. 

To give the better satisfaction the committee were 
usually instructed to be governed by age and the 
amount of taxes paid for the three preceding years. 
In the year 1757 they were also instructed to be gov- 
erned by " other circumstances," at their discretion. 

The report of that committee was not accepted and 
a new committee was chosen with the usual instruc- 
tions.. What the " other circumstances" were does 



ACTON. 



243 



not appear. But it should have been known that any 
circumstances which depended on the estimation and 
discretion of a committee would fail to give satisfac- 
tion in a matter of such peculiar delicacy. 

The new committee, however, seem to have restored 
harmony, and the same practice was continued during 
the existence of the old meeting-house. 

Special instructions were given in favor of negroes, 
who were to have the exclusive occupation of the 
" hind seat " in the gallery. 

How the youthful eyes lingered on the heels of 
Quartus Hosmer as they disappeared in his passage 
up the gallery-stairs, and how eagerly they watched 
the re-appearance in the gallery of his snow-white 
eyes, made more conspicuous by the eel-skin ribbon 
which gathered into & queue his graceful curls! 

He lived at the house then occupied by Mr. Hosmer, 
near the turnpike corner on the way from the Centre 
to the South, midway between the two villages. 

In 1769 " the hind parts " of the body seats were 
removed and four new pews were erected in their 
place. They were occupied by Thomas Noyes, Daniel 
Brooks, Joseph Robbins and Jonathan Hosmer. In 
the same year the house was new covered and glazed. 
In 1783 four other other pews were built and another 
portion of the body seats was removed. Three of 
these were sold and the fourth was " assigned for 
the use of the clergyman. It was through the banis- 
ters of this pew " old Mother Robbins," who sat in 
the body seats, used to furnish the centennial orator, 
Josiah Adams, Esq., the son of the pastor, those 
marigolds, peonies, and pink roses, decorated and 
perfumed with pennyroyal, southernwood, and tansy. 
She was indeed a most interesting old lady. No other 
public building has existed in the town so long as this 
stood. It was the house in which the first minister, 
Mr. Swift, preached during the whole of his long ser- 
vice of thirty-seven years, and in which Mr. Moses 
Adams, the second minister, officiated during the 
period of thirty years. 

It was used not simply for religious worship, but for 
town-meetings. Here the money was voted for the 
first public schools, here the roads were laid out, here 
the poor were provided for, here Acton took its munic- 
ipal action preliminary to the Revolutionary War, and 
here the first vote was passed recommending the Con- 
tinental Congress to put forth the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. The house stood and was used for these 
public purposes until 1808, when it was forsaken and 
after a few years torn down. 

It would be a novel and impressive service could 
the persons of the present generation be transferred 
just for one day and witness the scene in that old 
meeting-house on the " knowl." We would like to 
catch just one look at that venerable row of the deacons' 
seat. We would like to see them there, each in his 
turn reading the psalm, a line at a time, and tossing it 
up for the use of the singers in the front gallery. We 
would like to hear the peculiar voices of James Bil- 



lings and Samuel Parlin coming back as an echo. 
This practice of reading a line at a time, which, 
doubtless, had its origin in a want of psalm-books, be- 
came so hallowed in the minds of many that iis dis- 
continuance was a work of some difficulty. 

In 1790 the church voted that it should be dis- 
pensed with in the afternoon, and three years after- 
wards they voted to abandon the practice. 

On the Sabbath previous to the dedication of their 
second meeting-house, the people of Acton came 
from all directions, a whole family on a horse, toward 
the old meeting-house, to bid farewell to the place 
where their fathers had worshiped. After the whole 
town had come, entered the church, taken their seats 
in the old-fashioned square pews, sungsomeof Watts' 
hymns, and listened to a long and fervent prayer, their 
beloved minister, the Rev. Moses Adams, eloquently 
discoursed from the following text (Micah 2 : 10) : 
" Arise and let us depart, for this is not our rest." 
"Let us sing in his praise," the minister said. All 
the psalm-books at once fluttered open at " York." 

A sprig of green caraway carries me there to tbe old 
village church and the old village choir. 

" To the land of the leal they have gone with their song, 
Where the choir and the chorus together belong, 
Oh ! be lifted ye gates ! let me hear them again, 
Blessed song: blessed Sabbath. Forever. Amen." 

Rev. John Swift, the First Pastor. — We come 
to the fine mansion now owned and occupied by Dea- 
con William W.Davis. Since its recent improvements 
it has become an important addition to the structural 
adornment of the Centre. It is near enough to the 
main avenue of the village to be easily seen, and, with 
its elevated front and majestic elm towering above the 
whole, it makes a fine perspective view on approach- 
ing the town from either road. 

Mr. Eliab Grimes, who formerly occupied the place, 
was a successful farmer who tilled the land in the 
warm months of the year, and taught the schools in 
the winter, and had important trusts of service from 
the town as selectman and representative. Joash 
Keyes, David Barnard, Esq., in 1800; Deacon Josiah 
Noyes, in 1780 ; and Rev. John Swift, in 1740. One 
dwelling-house on this site was burned. Here is 
where Mr. Swift, the first pastor of Acton, for so 
long a period lived. Here we must pause long enough 
to get affiliated to the historical atmosphere, which 
seems to pervade the whole region around. 

At a meeting of the town October 4, 1737, while 
the first meeting-house was being built, a committee 
was selected to supply the pulpit. The meetings were 
to begin the first Sunday in January. At a meeting 
on January 25, 1738, it was voted "to raise thirty 
pounds to glaze ye meeting-house, to raise fifty 
pounds to support preaching, and Joseph Fletcher 
should be paid for a cushing for ye pulpit out of the 
tax money." In the warrant for a meeting holden 
on March 28th was this article : " To se if ye town 
will appint a day for fasting and prayer to God, with 



244 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX 



COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



the advice and assistance of sum of ye Neighboring 
Ministers for further directions, for the establishing 
ye gospel among them, as, allso, who and how many 
thay will advise with, as, allso, to chose a commett to 
mannig ye affare and provide for ye Pulpit for ye 
time to come." 

Voted "to appint ye last Thursday of March for 
fasting and prayer." 

Voted "that thay will call in five of ye Neighboring 
Ministers for advice in calling a Minister, viz. : Mr. 
Lorin, of Sudbury; Mr. Cook, East Sudbury; Mr. 
Gardner, of Stow; Mr. Peabody, of Natick ; and Mr. 
Rogers, of Littleton. Also, voted ye Selectmen be a 
Committ to Mannig ye affare, and provide for ye 
pulpit for ye iutur.'' At this meeting John Cragin 
was appointed to take care of the meeting-house, and 
thus he became Acton's first sexton. 

May 9, 1738, the town invited Mr. John Swift, of 
Framingham, to settle with them as minister. It 
was voted to give him £250 as a settlement, and an 
annual salary of £150, to be paid in semi-annual in- 
stalments in Massachusetts bills, which at the time 
was equivalent to about £117 settlement, and £70 
salary. The contracting committee were John 
Heald, Samuel Wheeler, John Brooks, Amtniruham- 
mah Faulkner, Simon Hunt and Joseph Fletcher. 
The salary offered was to rise or fall with the price 
of the principal necessaries of life. In the year 1754, 
the following list of articles considered as principally 
necessary for consumption in a minister's family 
were reported by a town's committee, with the cur- 
rent prices in 1735 annexed, and were adopted as a 
basis for regulating the amount of Mr. Swi't's salary. 

The signatures of the parties on the record show 
their entire satisfaction. 

" 30 b. Corn, at 6s.; 20 b. Rye, at 10s.; 500 lb. Pork, at 
8d.; 300 lb. Beef, at 5rf. ; 25 lb. wool, at 3s. 6d.; 15 lb. 
Cotton, at 4s. 6d. ; 50 lb. Flax, at Is. 3d. ; 56 lb. S Jgar, 
at Is. 4c/. ; 20 gals. Rum, at 8s. ; 80 lb. Butter, at Is. 
4d. ; 2 Hats, at £3 ; 10 pr. shoes, at 15s." 

The contract and agreement between Rev. John 
Swift and the town of Acton is here copied as an in- 
structive chapter on the times: 

" Whore-as the Town of Acton at a Town Meeting Duly warned May 
10th, 1738, did invite ye Rev. John Swift into ye work of ye ministry 
among them, and did all so pass a vote to give him two hundred and 
fifty Pounds towards a settlement, and a hundred and fifty Pounds Sal- 
lary yearly and since, at a town meeting Octoher ye 10th, 1738, did 
vote that said Sallary should he kept up to ye value of it and paid in 
every half years End yearly, and did also chuse John Heald, Joseph 
Fle:cher, John Brooks, Samuel Wheeler and Simon Hunt as a Com- 
mitt to contract with the Said Mr. Swift about ye said Sallary, the 
contract and agreement between said Mr. Swift and said Committ is as 
follows : 

" I". That said sallary shall be paid According to ye ould tenure of 
the Massachusetts Bills or in an equivalency of such hills of pr. cent or 
lawful CUITeDCJ as shall pass from time to time. 

'•2 d . That the value of said sallary be kept up from time to time ac- 
cording as when it was voted on May afore according to ye prise of the 
necessary provisions of life. 

"3 d . That the payment of said sallary continue so long as said 
Mr. Swift shall continue in ye work of ye ministry in said Acton 
and Id witness her of said Mr. Swift and said CVimmitte have here- 



unto set their hands this 30t>> day of October A. D., 1738. John 
Swift, John Heald, Joseph Fletcher, Amine Faulkner, Simon Hunt, 
John Brooks. 

"Ordered on this book of Records, 

"Attest Simon Hunt, Town Clerk." 

The contract was faithfully kept by the people of 
Acton, and the pastorate of Mr. Swift continued till 
his death, November 7, 1775, thirty-seven yearb lack- 
ing one day, at the age of sixty- two years. 

The small-pox prevailed as an epidemic in Acton 
that year. Mr. Swift took the disease and never 
afterwards was able to preach. 

Mr. Swift was ordained on the 8th day of Novem- 
ber, 1738. No particulars of the ordination can be 
gathered either from the town or church records, ex- 
cept that " the Council had entertainment at the 
house of Mr. Joseph Fletcher." 

Mr. Swift was the only son of the Rev. John 
Swift, of Framingham. He was born in Framingham, 
in 1713 ; graduated at Cambridge in 1733, and at the 
time of his ordination was twenty-five years of age. 
He was little above the common height, rather 
slender, his manners and address agreeable and 
pleasant. He was somewhat economical in the man- 
agement of his affairs, but kind to the poor and a 
good neighbor. He was opposed to excess and ex- 
travagance of every kind and to promote peace and 
good feeling was his constant care. He had some 
■singularities of character, but led an exemplary life, 
and retained the affections and respect of his people 
through a ministry of thirty-seven years. His preach- 
ing was practical, plain and serious, though it is said 
he had occasionally some unusual expressions in the 
pulpit Which were rather amusing. 

As was the custom of many clergymen of his day, 
he used to receive lads into his family for instruction 
in the studies preparatory to college. In one year 
five young men were presented by him at Cambridge, 
and all passed the examination and were admitted. 
There are a few scraps in his handwriting which ap- 
pear to discover considerable ease in the use of the 
Latin language, and in his church records there are 
many similar instances, but they are so attended with 
abbreviations and characters that it is not always 
easy to discover their import. Some extracts from 
his church records are given. The volume is a very 
small one. It begins without caption or heading, and 
there is nothing to indicate what the contents are 
to be. 

The first entry is in the following words: "Nov. 
8, 1738. I was ordained pastor of the church in 
Acton." He speaks of himself in the same manntr 
in all parts of the record. 

Under date of June 14, 1739, is the following 
record, " It being lecture day, after the blessing was 
pronounced I desired the church to tarry, and asked 
their minds concerning the remainder of the elements 
after communion and they voted ' I should have 'em.' " 

"Sept. 11, 1744. I made a speech to the church 
thus: 'Brethren, I doubt not but you have taken 



ACTON. 



245 



notice of the long absence of brother Mark White, 
Jr., from the ordinances of God in this place. If you 
request it of him to give us the reasons of his absence 
some time hence, I desire you would manifest it by 
an uplifted hand. Whereupon there was an affirma- 
tive vote.' June 7, 1749 notations of sacraments 
ceased here, because I recorded them in my almanac 
interlineary." 

The book is a curious intermixture of Latin and 
English accounts of admissions to the church, bap- 
tisms, administrations of the Supper and dealings 
with delinquents, and it is evident that Mr. Swift had 
little more in view than brief memoranda for his own 
use. He writes: "I regret that I did not at the be- 
ginning of my ministry procure a larger book, and 
keep a more particular and extensive record. I hope 
my successor will profit by this hint." Rev. Mr. 
Swift lived to see the opening of the Revolutionary 
War. His preaching, prayers and influence at the 
time doubtless helped in the preliminaries of that 
eventful struggle. 

Thomas Thorp, in his deposition given in 1835 to 
the selectmen and committee of the town, says : "On 
the morning of the 19th cf April, 1775, I had notice 
that the regulars were coming to Concord. I took 
my equipments and proceeded toCapt. Davis's house. 
I passed the house of Rev. Mr. Swift. His son, Doc- 
tor John Swift, made me a present of a cartridge box, 
as he saw I had none. I well remember there was 
on the outside a piece of red cloth in the shape of a 
heart." 

On that memorable morning Capt. Davis marched 
his company by Mr. Swift's house to the music of 
fife and drum. The blood in the pastor's veins quick- 
ened at the sight and sound, and he waved his ben- 
edictions over the heroic company as they passed on 
to the scene of action. He helped to sustain the 
widow in her first shock as Davis came lifeless to a 
home he had left but a few hours before, strong and 
vigorous. Mr. Swift did not see the end, only the be- 
ginning of the struggle. 

In November of the same year a funeral cortege 
was seen wending its way to the old cemetery in 
Acton. They were following the remains of their 
first pastor. A mound and a simple marble slab mark 
his grave. Four pine trees of stately growth sing 
their requiem over his precious dust as the years 
come and go. All honor to the dear memory of him 
who laid the foundation stones of this goodly church 
of Acton, and did so much to form the peaceful, 
frugal character of its inhabitants. 

" Honor and blessings on his head 
While living — good report when dead.' 

We do not easily part from a spot so suggestive of 
the stirring events, parochial, ministerial, civil and 
military, which centralized in the early days of 
Acton, on these very acres. We will leave the home- 
stead in the care of Deacon Davis, who has spent the 



best energies of his life in improving and adorning 
the premises, and whose sympathies are in full accord 
with all the memories of the past and with all the 
prospects of the future. 

Music in the First Church. — In 1785 the singers 
were directed, for the first time to sit together in the 
gallery. 

In 1793 the practice of performing sacred music 
by reading the line of the hymn as sung was discon- 
tinued. A church Bible was presented in 1806 by 
Deacon John White, of Concord. 

In the church records, as far back as March 23, 
1797, is found the following vote : 1st. " It is the desire 
of the church that singing should be performed as a 
part of public worship in the church and congre- 
gation. 

" 2d. It is the desire of the church that the select- 
men insert an article in the warrant for the next May 
meeting to see if the town will raise a sum of money 
to support a singing-school in the town and that the 
pastor apply to the selectmen in the name of the 
church for that purpose. 

"3d. Voted to choose five persons to lead the sing- 
ing in the future. 

"4th. Voted to choose a committee of three to nom- 
inate five persons for singers." 

Deacon Joseph Brabrook, Deacon Simon Hunt and 
Thomas Noyes were chosen this committee. They 
nominated Winthrop Faulkner, Nathaniel Edwards, 
Jr., Simon Hosmer, Josiah Noyes and Paul Brooks, 
and these persons were chosen, by vote, to lead the 
singing in the future. 

Voted, " It is the desire of the church that the singers 
use a Bass Viol in the public worship, if it be agree- 
able to them. 

Voted, " It is the desire of the church that all per- 
sons who are qualified would assist the singing in the 
public worship." 

Deacon Simon Hosmer played for thirty years. 

Deacons in the First Church. — Joseph Fletch- 
er, chosen December 15, 1738, died September 11, 
1746, aged 61 ; John Heald, chosen December 15, 
1738, died May 16, 1775, aged 82; Jonathan Hosmer, 
died 1775, aged 64; John Brooks, died March 6, 
1777, aged 76 ; Samuel Hayward, chosen September 
29, 1775, died March 6, 1795, aged 78; Francis 
Faulkner, chosen September 29, 1775, died August 
5, 1805, aged 78; Joseph Brabrook, chosen Septem- 
ber 29, 1775, died April 28, 1812, aged 73 ; Simon Hunt, 
chosen April 19, 1792, died April 27, 1820, aged 86; 
Josiah Noyes, chosen March 27, 1806, dismissed and 
removed to Westmoreland, N. H., October 16, 1808 ; 
Benjamin Hayward, chosen March 27, 1806, excused 
June 15, 1821 ; John Wheeler, chosen April 18, 1811, 
died December 17, 1824, aged 64 ; John White, chosen 
April 18, 1811, died April 3, 1824, aged 54; Phineas 
Wheeler, chosen June 15, 1821, died in 1838, aged 
65; Daniel F. Barker, chosen June 15, 1821, died in 
1840; Silas Hosmer, chosen June 15, 1821. 



246 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



Woodlawn Cemetery. — This is now a very old 
and extensive burying-grouad, pleasantly located, 
with a slight natural grade descending from the north 
to the south — the new portion towards East Acton 
being level and of light, dry soil adapted to burying 
purposes. It has two pumps, a hearse-hou»e and re- 
ceiving-tomb, and a beautilul pine grove shielding 
from the summer's sun where public services can be 
held. Many ornamental monuments and slabs have 
been erected in later yeara. 

The original deed to the town for the opening of 
Woodlawn Cemetery was given by Nathan Robbins 
January 16, 1737, and contained one-half an acre. 
The second deed was given by Joseph Robbins De- 
cember 11, 1769, a small tract adjoining southeast 
corner. The third deed was dated November 2, 1812 ^ 
the fourth deed was dated January 1, 1844; the fifth 
deed was dated August 22, 1862. The present area 
(1890) is between eleven and twelve acres. The old- 
est date noticed upon any of the slabs is 1743. 

In earlier times slabs were not erected — a simple 
stone marking the place of burial. Many have been 
buried here whose graves have no outward token of 
their locality. A recent careful count of the graves 
in this cemetery makes the number 1671, showing 
that here lie the remains of a population nearly if not 
quite equal to those above ground on the present 
limits of the town. The location is about midway 
between East Acton and the Centre, and easily reached 
by good roads leading from all the villages and the 
other portions of the town. 

Within the memory of some now living, before the 
new road from the Centre was laid out and the only 
passage was by the present site of Mr. Moorhoiiae, 
winding through a continuous line of woods, growing 
darker till the gurgling waters of Rocky Guzzle were 
heard just as the grave-stones struck the eye, it re- 
quired more nerve than most boys and girls had in 
those more superstitious times to travel that way 
alone in the night or even in day-tune. The hair 
would stand on end in spite of one's self as one 
reached the sombre retreat. Few were brave enough 
to pass that way to mill unattended unless necessity 
or the calls of love impelled. 

With the more cheery aspect of the thoroughfares 
in later years and with the mind cleared of the ghoat, 
stories, which, if heard, are discredited on the spot 
and expelled at once from the memory, one can travel 
that way and sing or whistle as he goes by, conscious 
of none but helpful companionship. 

A few epitaphs on the tornb-stones are here given, 
which may be of interest. The oldest slabs of unique 
design have at the top the Latin words Memento mori, 
which means, remember that you must die. 

Erected in memory of 31 r. Josinli Hayward, who departed this life 
May 6, 1783, aged TO. 

He was a gentleman of worth and integrity, lived much respected for 
hie private, social and public virtues; sustained divers civil ofhYes with 
houor to hiuiielf and benefit to the eouiuiunily aud pn r'icnlm ly that of 



u representative for this town in the General Assembly, where he showed 
himself a warm friend of his country. 

His memory is precious with the friends of virtue, religion and man- 
kind. 

He had life in his imagination and a good judgment, was a humble, 
patient Christian, ever ready to do good when he saw an opportunity. 
Whoever you be that see my hearse, 
Take notice of and learn this verse, 
For by it you may understand, 
You have nut time at your command. 
Bless.d are the dead that die In the Lord from henceforth, yea, sail!) 
the Spirit that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow 
them. 

On the marble slab at the tomb of Rev. John Swift : 

Rev. John Swift died November7, 1775, aged 62 years. 

He was ordained as the first pastor of the Congregational Church of 
Acton, November 8, 1738, and continued in this relation until death. 
He was a plain, practical and serious preacher aud a faithful minister. 

Memento Mori. 

In memory of Major Daniel Fletcher, who departed this life Decem- 
ber 15, 1776, in the 69* year of his age. 

'Tis dangers great he has gone through 
From enemies' hands his God him drew 
When fighting foi that noble cause, 
His country and its famous laws. 
But now we trust to rest has gone 
Where wars and fightings there is none. 
Here lies buried the body of Deacon Joseph Fletcher, who departed 
this life September 11, 1746, in the 61" yar of his age. 

Memento Mori. 

This stone Is erected to preserve the remembrance of Deacon Samuel 
Hay ward, anil to remind the living that they mut>t follow him. He died 
March 6, 1791, aged 78. 

For many years he commanded the militia in this town. He was a 
kind husband and father, neighbor and a lover of his conutry, of good 
men, of religion and of the poor. The memory of such a man is blessed. 

Erected in memory of Captain Stevens May ward, who died October 
6, 1817. 

In memory of Deacon John White, who died April 3, 1821, in his 

53 d year. 

Erected in memory of James Fletcher, who died December 9, 1815, 
aged 57, whose death was caused by the falling of a tree. 
The rising morning don't assure, 

That we shall end the day, 
For death stands ready at the door, 
To snatch our lives away. 

The following inscription is upon a large siab 
mounted in a horizontal portion : 

Sacred to the memory of Rev. Moses Adams, who was born in Franiing- 
hain, October 16, 1749, graduated at Cambridge in 1771 ; w as ordained in 
1777, minister of the Church and congregation of Acton, and continued 
such till October 13, 1819, when he died on the 16*, which was the 7U" 1 
anniversary of his birth. 

His remains were placed beneath this etoue. In his person he was 
dignified and modest, in his intellect vigorous and sound, in his heart 
benevolent and devout. His preaching was plain and practical, and his 
example added greatly to his power. The Scriptures were his study and 
delight, and while he exercised the protestant right of expounding them 
for himself, his candor toward the bincere who differed from him was in 
the spirit of the Gospel. 

The good beiug whom he loved with supreme devotion was pleased to 
grant him many years of prosperity and gladness, and to add not a few 
of affliction and sorrow. 

The first he enjoyed with moderation and gratitude, and in the last he 
exhibited the power of religion to sustain the practical Christian. 

To his people and his family he was ardently attached and spent his 
life in exertions and prayers for their w elfare, and they have placed this 
inscription to testify their reverence f,.r his ctiarai ter and their love 
for his memory. 

We cannot mourn the venerable shade whom angels led in triumph 
to the skie" while following sorrow halted at the toinb. 



ACTON. 



247 



Tiie North Acton Cemetery. — Its location is 
between three and four miles from Acton Centre, on 
the road to Carlisle on the left hand. It is a very old 
burying-ground of small area and contains about 100 
graves. 

A few of the epitaphs are given : 

Sabred to the memory of Captain Samuel Davis, who died July 4 th , 
1800, aged 89. 

Retire my friends, 

Dry up your tears, 
Here I must lie 
Till Christ appears. 

In memory of Davis, who died September 16, 181), aged 72. 

Beneath this stone 

Death's prisoner lyes, 
The stone shall move, 

The prisoner rise, 
When Jesus with Almighty word, 

Calls his dead saints 
To meet the Lord. 

Mememto Mori. 

Here lies buried the body of Deacon John Heald, who departed this 
life May 1G, 1775, in the 82 4 year of his ago. Ilis wife Mary died Sep- 
tember 1, 1758, aged 61. 

Mount Hope Cemetery, West Acton. — The West 
Acton Cemetery is gracefully located on elevated dry 
ground*on the southern border of the village to the 
right as one pa-ses from West to South Acton. It 
was opeoed in 1848. It is regularly laid out; has a 
new receiving tomb and many modern slabs and sev- 
eral costly monuments of artistic design. It contains 
271 graves and will have an increasing interest as the 
years go by. 

The Brooks Tavern. — Many now living can 
recall the gambrel roof two-story house at the foot of 
the hill, near where Mr. Moorhouse now lives, owned 
and occupied for many years by Mr. Nathaniel 
Stearns, the father of Mrs. Moses Taylor. 

In the earlier days, before the present avenue and 
village at the Centre had been laid out, it stood as a 
conspicuous centre-figure facing the old meeting- 
house on the knoll, near where the school-house now 
stands. 

The space between these two buildings was the 
Acton Common of ye olden time. Here were the 
military drills. Here were the town-meeting gather- 
ings. This Stearns house was the hotel of the sur- 
rounding districts, and was known as the " Brocks 
Tavern," from Daniel Brooks, who occupied it in 
1762, and Paul Brooks afterwards. 

When the new meeting-house of 1807 was raised it 
was necessary to send to Boston to engage sailors ac- 
customed to climb the perilous heights of a sea-faring 
life. They assisted in raising and locating the frame 
of the steeple. After the deed was accomplished they 
celebrated the exploit in feasting and dancing at the 
" Brooks Tavern." 

Could ihe walls of this tavern be put upon the 
stand, and could they report all they have seen and 
heard in the line of local history, we would have a 
chapter which would thrill us with its heroic, humor- 
ous and tragic details. 



The Fletcher Homestead. — As we leave this 
enchanted spot we notice the old stepping-stone of 
the meeting-house which Mason Robbins has erected 
in the wall at the right, and inscribed upon its broad 
face the memorial tablet of the bygone days. As we 
reach the house now owned and occupied by Mrs. 
Jonathan Loker, we see a lane to the left leading into 
the vacant pasture and orchard. 

Pass into that lane for a few rod3, and we reach 
the marks of an old cellar on the left. Here stood 
for many years, frcm 1794 on, the Fletcher home- 
stead, where James Fletcher, the father of Deacon 
John Fletcher, and his brother James and Betsey, 
the sister, lived during childhood up to the years of 
maturity. A few feet from this ancient cellar-hole to 
the west is the site of the first Fletcher russet apple- 
tree. Childhood's memories easily recall the ancient 
unpaiuted cottage, the quaint old chimney with the 
brick-oven on the side, and the fire-place large 
enough for the burning of logs of size and length, and 
in front to the southeast a vegetable garden un- 
matched at the time for its culture and richness, and 
a large chestnut-tree to the south, planted by Deacon 
John, in early life. 

The farm and homestead of Potter Conant, where 
Herbert Robbins now lives, on the cross-road, near 
Mr. Thomas Hammond's, was originally owned and 
occupied by James Fletcher, the father of Deacon 
John, and the birth-place of the latter. It was sold 
in exchange to Potter Conant, when Deacon John 
was four years old. 

Thomas Smith, the father of Solomon Smith, died 
here in 1758. Solomon Smith, who was at the Con- 
cord fight, lived here at the time. His son, Luke 
Smith, was at Baltimore with his knapsack and gun, 
when the rioters mobbed the old Sixth on the 19th of 
April, 1861. Silas Conant lived here later. Betsey 
married a Mr. Shattuck, who moved to Landaff, N. 
H.. and was the mother of Lydia Shattuck, the noted 
teacher at Mount Holyoke College. For forty-one 
years she was connected with the institution, as a 
pupil in the fall of 1848, and of late years has been 
the only in-tructor who bad studied under Mary 
Lyon. She began to teach immediately after gradu- 
ation. She made a specialty of natural history studies 
and was an enthusiastic botanist. She was associated 
with Professor Agassiz and Guyot in founding the 
Anderson School on Penikese Island, and was largely 
instrumental in awakening the interest which led to 
the founding of Williston Hall at South Hadley. 
Last summer she was made professor emeritus and 
granted a permanent home at the college. She died 
at the college November 2, 1889, aged sixty-seven 
years and five months. 

The Skinner House. — This structure, of which 
the artist has given a genuine and beautiful sketch, is 
located in the southeast corner of Acton. Its stands 
on rising ground, just off the main road, facing a 
striking landscape towards the west, which includes 



218 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSE'ITS. 



the Assabet River, with Its picturesque scenery of 
banks, foliage and bridge. The artist stood with this 
view all in his rear, with what is embraced in the 
sketch in front. The house was built in 1801, by Mr. 
Simeon Hayward, the father of Mrs. Skinner. It 
was at the time one of the most costly and tasteful 
residences in the whole town and held that rank for 
years. Even at this late date it will stand criticism 
with many dwelling-houses more modern and expen- 
sive. 

That majestic elm which towers above the house 
on the right is a hundred years old, and is a fair spe- 
cimen of its cotemporaries distributed in all parts of 
the town. Without them Acton would be shorn of 
its distinguishing beauty. To the left is the carriage- 
house and in the background the barn. 

This house took the place of the old one which 
stood just in the rear of this when Mrs. Skinner was 
born, August 14, 1796. Her grandfather, Josiah Hay- 
ward, moved on to this site in 1737, and had promi- 
nence in the early history of the town. He and his 
wife were allowed a seat in the first meeting-house 
in 1737, which was considered at the time a marked 
compliment to their intelligence and rank. On the 
south and east sides of the house are many thick 
trees to prevent accident in case of explosion at the 
powder-mills which are built a short distance away 
on the banks of the Assabet River. 

Do not pause too long on the outskirts of this de- 
lightful homestead. A knock at the door will give 
you a welcome within. Here lives tbe oldest person 
in town, — Mrs. Mary Skinner. On meeting her, she 
takes you by the hand with a genial welcoming ex- 
pression of the face which puts you at ease and 
makes you glad that you came. * 

One needs not the painted miniature done on ivory 
when she was twenty-one years old to assure the 
beauty of her youth. There are in her aged coun- 
tenance no doubtful traces of that ear.y charm, 
which made her a most attractive maiden. This in- 
teresting old lady never tires in tellicg of the frolics 
and festivities of her girlhood day*, and the doings of 
the beaux and belles. 

The young people for miles around used to meet 
at the wayside inn, where many a grand ball and 
party was given in honor of the loveiy Jerusha 
Howe, the beauty of the town of Sudbury. Mrs. 
Skinner went to the dancing-school when eight years 
old. 

Do not miss the kind offer of Miss Dole, the faith- 
ful attendant for years of the venerable Mrs. Skin- 
ner, to visit the spare parlois. Here, one may fairly 
revel among the old-fashioned portraits, curious- 
shaped dishes and antique furniture. In a corner of 
the parlor is a tiny piano of rosewood, with gilded 
finishing and ornaments made eighty years ago. It 
still has the clear sweet tone of ye olden time. Un- 
derneath the key-board are three drawers to hold 
music, each with little gilded knobs. There is some 



exquite music-copying which Mrs. Skinner d d years 
ago. Also many pictures which she painted ; but the 
most interesting of all are the white satin .-hoes 
which she wore when she was married. On a little 
printed slip neatly pasted inside of one of them the 
maker's name is given, mentioning that he kept a 
variety store, and also that at his establishment cus- 
tomers could have "rips mended gratis." 

At the age of twenty-eight she married and re- 
moved to Andover, Mass., where her husband, Mr. 
Henry Skinner, was in business. She lived there 
about four years, but after the death of her husband 
and two children, who died within eleven days of 
each other, she returned to her home, which she left 
as a bride, and here she has lived ever since. At the 
age of sixty-four she found it necessary to wear 
glasses, but only for a short time, and now has re- 
markable eye-sight. She keeps well informed through 
tbe daily papers, and sits up until a late hour to have 
the news read to her. 

All her near relatives are dead. Her father, 
Simeon Hayward, died June 5, 1803, when she was 
seven years old. Her son, Henry Skinner, born two 
months after the decease of her husband, graduated 
from Harvard College before he was eighteen years 
old, in 1846 — a civil engineer — died February 18, 
1867. Her sister Betsey, who lived in ihe same 
house with her, with her husband, Rev. Samuel Adams, 
have both been dead for years. Betsey, when a 
young maiden, by the election of the ladies of Acton, 
presented to the Davis Blues an elegant standard 
and bugle. The address on that occasion was marked 
with st-ntiment and culture. It closes in these 
words, — "Should ever our invaded country call you 
to the onset you will unfurl your banner and remem- 
ber that he whose name it bears sealed his patriotism 
with his blood." 

Her attendant for years says Mrs. Skinner has 
a most lovely disposition. You allude to the many 
changes and trials her of life, and she says, " My life 
has been a favored one." She never speaks an unkind 
word, is never out of patience with persons or things. 
No matter what happens, it is always right — all right. 
She has been kind to so many. No one knows how 
many she has helped. No matter who comes with 
a subscription paper she listens patiently and givts 
cheerfully. When subscribing to bear the expense 
of her husband's portrait and of the sketch of her 
historic homestead, she said, " I may not be alive 
when the picture is taken, but :t may do some one 
some good." 

In sickness her aim seems to be to relieve the care 
of attendance. Only yesterday she quoted the re- 
mark : Every person has three characters: 1. The 
one which their neighbors give. 2. The one which 
they themselves give. 3. The one which they really 
are. They all seem to be blended in one in Mrs. 
Skinner. 

Mrs. Skinner has been for the larger portion of her 



ACTON. 



249 



life a consistent member and liberal patron of the 
Acton Church. She gave the pulpit to the new meet- 
ing-house. Sitting in her cosy room, with its quaint 
ornaments and substantial furnishings, her white 
hands resting on her lap, she is a never-to-be-forgot- 
ten picture of serene, happy old age, while all about 
her there appears a peace above all earthly dignities 
— a still and quiet conscience. 

The Old Parsonage. — Town Records, January, 
1780 : 

" Voted, that the select man appoint a town-meeting Tuesday, Jan. '25th, 
1780, at one o'clock p.m., to see if the town will raise a sum of money 
to make good that part of the Rev. Moses Adams' settlement that is to 
he laid out in building him a dwelling-house 1 and pass any other votes 
that may he thought proper when met Relating to settlement or the 
pay of the workers that have Don Labour on said house. 

" Acton, Jan. 31, 1780." 

The town being met according to adjournment by 
reason of the severity of the weather adjourned the 
meeting to the house of Caroline" Brooks, in order to 
do the business, and proceeded as follows : On the 
second article it was voted "to allow the artificers 
that worked at Rev. Mr. Adams' house 15 dollars per 
day and ten Dollars for common Labour, 24s. per 
mile for carting." 

" Voted, three thousand Pounds to make good the one Hundred Pound 
of Rev. Mr. Adams' settlement. 

" Voted, three Thousand five hundred and sixty to Pounds to the Rev. 
Mr. Adams for his sallary this present year." 

These figures show the depreciation of the currency 
during the Revolutionary period. 

We proceed in our historic ramble, reluctant to 
part from the ancient " Knowl " where stood the First 
Church of Acton for threescore years and ten. 

We drift on this tidal-wave of past reminiscences, 
and the drift takes us at once down the road a few 
rods to the northwest, where sits to-day so grace- 
fully the old parsonage of our fathers and grand- 
fathers and mothers and grandmothers of ye olden 
time. It faces tjie gentle slope in front to the south- 
east, looking towards the Hill of Zion on the " Knowl " 
and ye old Acton Common and the Brooks Tavern 
just beyond, now all gone to rest. It is a quaint old 
mansion, with a stately elm standing over it i;i all 
the majesty of years. The structure was built five 
years after the Concord Fight, 1780. 

The side of the house faces the street and is three 
stories. \U front, built on a hillside, is half three and 
the other half two stories. A long flight of steps leads 
up to a large portico, which makes the front entrance 
overlooking the green fields and orchards just beyond. 
The chimney rises in the centre of the roof some 
three feet high and six feet wide. Its four flues 
answer all household purposes. The lilac bushes and 
the yellow lily bed on the roadside, just outside the 
wall, are still flourishing as in the earliest recollec- 
tion of the oldest persons now living. 

Moses Taylor, Esq., has done a great service to the 
future public by purchasing this estate and restoring 
the faded tints of early days — green blinds, light yel- 
low, the main color of the house, with white trim- 



mings. It is now presentable to the eye of the anti- 
quarian, and even to the modern critic. 

When laying out the new sidewalk leading up to 
the village, Mr. Taylor said : "Spare the lilac bushes 
and lily-bed. They shall remain for old memory's 
sake. I used to go by these loved relics in school- 
day times, and they are to me now even dearer and 
sweeter than when a boy." 

Mrs. Adams, the wife of Rev. Moses Adams, the 
second minister, a very energetic lady and a notable 
housekeeper, kept store in the basement story. Keep- 
ing store, added to her maternal duties, as the mother 
of three sons and three daughters, house-work, spin- 
ning, weaving, knitting and cheese-making, to say 
nothing of parish duties, must have made for her a busy 
life, and this part of the house at least must have 
been a lively centre for the earthly activities of the 
parsonage. The upper part of the house was the 
scene of the pastor's private study, and contained 
rooms neatly furnished for those times and ever 
ready to receive guests from abroad. 

Rev. Moses Adams, the first pastor occupying this 
house, had been selected with great care. In May, 
1776, the town chose a committee to take advice of 
the president of the college and the neighboring 
ministers and to engage four candidates to preach 
four Sabbaths each in succession. One of the four 
was Moses Adams. He, like his predecessor, Rev. 
Mr. Swift, was a native of Framingham. He was 
born October 16, 1749, and graduated at Cambridge, 
1771. On the 29th of August, 1776, it was voted "to 
hear Mr. Moses Adams eight Sabbaths longer on 
probation," and on the 20th of December " to hear 
Mr. Moses Adams four Sabbaths longer than isagretd 
for." 

In the mean time the church had appointed the 
2d day of January for a fast, and had invited the 
neighboring ministers to attend on the occasion. On 
the 8th day of January they made choice of Mr. 
Adams to take the oversight and charge of the church. 
The choice was confirmed by the town on the 
15th of the same month. At an adjournment of 
that meeting, on the 17th of March, an offer was made 
of £200 settlement and £80 salary in lawful money, 
according 6s. 8d. per ounce. It was also voted to pro- 
vide him with fire-wood the first year after his settle- 
ment. The invitation was accepted, and Mr. Adams 
was ordained on the 25th day of June, 1777, then in 
his twenty-eighth year. 

He was the only child of respectable but humble 
parents. By the death of both parents he became an 
orphan at the age of seven years. The property left 
him was sufficient, wiili economy, to defray the ex- 
pense of a public education. The first years of his 
ministry were attended with considerable pecuniary 
embarrassment, for, although precaution was taken to 
make the salary payable in silver, yet the value of 
that compared with the necessaries of life very con- 
siderably decreased. . - 



230 



The promptness and spirit with which the people 
of Acton met the calls of the Government for the 
support of the war rendered them less able to pay their 
minister. His settlement had been relied on to meet 
the expenses of building a house, which a young and 
increasing family made a matter of necessity. The 
settlement was not wholly paid for several years. 
The subject was agitated at two meetings in 1781, 
and in February, 1782, the selectmen were directed 
to pay the remaining balance. 

In 1783 Mr. Adams, in a communication which is 
recorded, made a statement of £123, which he con- 
sidered his due for balances unpaid of his three first 
years' salary, accompanied by an offer to deduct £43 
if the remainder should be paid or put on interest. 
It is not certain whether this was a legal or merely 
an equitable claim, but the town promptly acceded 
to the proposal. In justice to the town it should be 
observed that so far as it regards their pecuniary 
dealings with their two first ministers a liberality and 
sense of justice is manifest, with few exceptions, from 
the beginning to the end of the records. There were 
other negotiations in regard to the salary. It was all, 
however, in perfect good feeling and in accordance 
with the respect and affection which existed between 
Mr. Adams and his people through the whole period 
of his long ministry of forty-two years. 

He died on the 13th of October, 1819, and was bur- 
ied on the 16th, which was the seventieth anniversary 
of his death. -i-> / r ^ 

In consequence of his request in writing — which was 
found after his decease — no sermon was delivered at Lis 
funeral. To anticipate the silent tear was more to 
him than the voice of praise. He had days of pros- 
perity and he knew how to enjoy them. He witness- 
ed seasons of sorrow and bore them with rare equa- 
nimity. In public duties,, in social intercourse, in 
the schools, in the transactions of private life, he 
carried himself with a genial but serene self-poise 
commanding universal confidence, veneiation and 
love. 

The house where such a man lived and died, whose 
walls witnessed the mental struggles of his closet and 
study, the composition of his four thousand sermons, 
the training and education of his children, and of those 
from abroad, fitting for college under his care, is a 
hallowed retreat calling for a tender appreciation by 
all who shall hereafter gaze upon this memorial 
structure. The following items have been copied 
from the town records, in regard to his children. 
Moses, son of Moses and Abigail Adams, born Novem- 
ber 28, 1777; Mabby, daughter, born January 21, 1780 ; 
Josiah, born November 3, 1781 ; Joseph, born Septem- 
ber 25, 1783 ; Clarissa, born July 13, 1785. 

We must not leave the site too hastily ; still another 
chapter of records opens upon our vision right here 
and now. 

The pulpit was constantly supplied by the town 
during the last sickness of Mr. Adams, and after his 



decease. In the next month a committee was chosen 
to procure a candidate. They engnged Mr. Marshall 
Shedd, who was graduated at Dartmouth in 1817, and 
was then a member of the Rev. Mr. Greenough's 
church in Newton, Massachusetts, which wa3 his 
native town^CCL-mW l^lge A 1*7. 9 . 1 7 * ^ . 

On the 20th of February, 1820, Mr. Shedd was 
unanimously invited by the church to become their 
pastor, and on the 13th of March the town unani- 
mously voted to give him a call. Five hundred dol- 
lars was offered as a settlement, which was increased 
by subscription and the salary was fixed at six hun- 
dred dollars, with fifteen cords of wood. In case of 
permanent inability the salary was to be reduced to 
two hundred dollars. This liberal offer was accepted, 
and on the 10th of May Mr. Shedd was ordained 
pastor of the church and minister of the congrega- 
tion in Acton. • 

The ordaining council consisted of Mr. Willard, 
of Boxborough ; Mr. Newell, of Stow ; Mr. Greenough, 
of Newton; Mr. Litchfield, of Carlisle; Dr. Ripley, 
of Concord ; Dr. Homer, of Newton ; Mr. Foster, of 
Littleton ; Dr. Holmes, of Cambridge; Mr. B'ake, of 
Westford ; Dr. Pierce, of Brookline ; Mr. Noyes, 
of Needham ; Mr. Hulbert, of Sudbury, with delegates 
from their respective churches. Such a combination 
of religious opinions in an ordaining council obtained 
by a unanimous vote of both church and congrega- 
tion was very remarkable at that period, and dis- 
covers a liberality of Christian feeling which is worthy 
of all imitation. 

Mr. Shedd was a pious, peaceable and exemplary 
minister, with more than ordinary talents and indus- 
trious in the discharge of duty. It was a time of 
great religious conflict. The heat of controversy 
became intense in all this vicinity of towns, resulting 
in the division of churches and congregations. 

Parochial difficulties multiplied in all directions. 
Acton began to feel the irritations of the epoch. Mr. 
Shedd labored to harmonize the colliding elements, 
but the lines of divergence were too sharply drawn, 
and he bowed to the inevitable and gracefully retired. 

Providence opened to him, as he thought, a more 
hopeful field for himself and family in what was then 
the new settlements in Northern New York, he decid- 
ed to enter it, and in May, 1831, the corporation, which 
was now called a parish, concurred with the church 
in granting Mr. Shedd's request that his connection 
might be dissolved, and in thesame month that agree- 
ment was confirmed by an ecclesiastical council. 

Mr. Shedd came to Acton a married man, his 
companion having been born in Newton, like himself 
a Mi>s Eliza Thayer, daughter of Obadiah Thayer. 
He resided with Mr. Shedd in Acton at the parsonage. 

He is still remembered by some of the oldest in- 
habitants of Acton as a man of great excellence of 
character, a rare mingling of refined and positive 
traits, an unswerving advocate of truth and righteous- 
ness. He died intftfillsborough, N. Y., in 1834. 



THE OLD PARSONAGE. 



ACTON. 



251 



The first year of Mr. Shedd's pastorate was event- 
ful. On the 10th of May he was ordained. On the 
21st of June he became the father of one of the most 
notable and worthy men now living. It is no ordin- 
ary honor for the parsonage and the town to be the 
birth-place of Rev. Prof. William G. T. Shedd, D.D. 

The simple surface record of the man runs thus : 
born in Acton, June 21, 1820; graduated at the 
University of Vermont, Burlington, in 1839; at 
Andover Seminary in 1843 ; pastor of Brandon, 
Vermont, 1843-45 ; Professor of Engli-h Literature 
in the University of Vermont, 1845-52; Professor 
of Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Theology in 
Auburn Seminary, 1852-54; Professor of Ecclesi- 
astical History and Pastoral Theology in Andover 
Seminary, 1854-62 ; co-pastor of the Brick Presby- 
terian Church, New York City, 1862-63 ; Professor 
of Sacred Literature in Union Theological Seminary, 
New York City, 1863-74; Professor of Systematic 
Theology in Union Seminary since 1874. 

His publications are: History of Christian Doc- 
trine, Theological Essays, Literary Essays, Homiletics 
and Pastoral Theology, Sermons to the Natural 
Man, Translation of Guericke's Church History, 
Translation of Theremin's Rhetoric. 

He has adorned every position which he has 
touched. He is a scholar, a gentleman, an author, a 
preacher, a philosopher, a theologian, a Christian of 
the very highest order in the land, and so acknowl- 
edged even by those not always agreeing with his 
views. 

He has not forgotten his birth-p'ace or the scenes 
of his boyhood, though leaving the place when eleven 
years old and visiting it but twice since that time. 

He remembers his old family physician, Dr. Cowdry ; 
Deacon Silas Hosmer, one of the officers of the church, 
who died at the age of eighty-four ; the two Fletchers, 
Deacon John and his brother James; (he Faulkner 
mills, where there were about a dozen houses when 
last he saw it ; East Acton, the place where he went 
to take the stage, upon the main road, when great 
journeys were to be made; Wetherbee's Hotel and 
some fine old elms, which he hopes are still standing; 
Deacon Phineas Wheeler and his grist-mill, to which 
he often carried the grist ; the Common in Acton 
Centre, now covered with fine shade-trees, where 
there was not a single tree of any kind when he 
played ball upon it in his boyhood ; those inscrip- 
tions upon the grave-stones around the monument 
which he used to read when a boy in the old ceme- 
tery ; the huckleberry and blueberry bushes still 
growing in the same rough pastures, where he has 
picked many a quart. 

He is now in his seventieth year, but there are 
some still living who recall his early days on the 
street and at the parsonage. He was a model youth, 
and had in him at the start elements which all recog- 
nized as the promise of his future career, if his life 
should be spared. 



The following tributes to the memory of his father 
and mother were received in a letter from him dated 
December 23, 1889: "My father lived to the great 
age of eighty-five, dying in Willsborough, N. Y., in 
1872. After leaving Acton he was never settled as a 
pastor, but for many years, until age and infirmities 
prevented, he preached to the feeble churches in 
the region, and did a great and good work in the 
moral and religious up-building of society. My 
mother died soon after our family removed to 
Northern New York, which was in October, 1831. 
She departed this life in February, 1833. I was 
only twelve years of age, but the impress she made 
upon me in those twelve years is greater than that 
made by any other human being, or than all other 
human beings collectively." 

In the same letter he gives this record of his 
two brothers — younger than himself — whom several 
old schoolmates, now living in Acton, remember 
with interest. Marshall died in Wlisborouijh, N. Y., 
in 1879, in the Christian faith and hope. The 
younger brother, Henry S., is living, and for more 
than twenty years has been connected with the 
post-office in this city (New York). 

The Acton town records give the following dates 
of birth : William G. Thayer Shedd, son of Marshall 
and Eliza Shedd, born June 21, 1820; Marshall, born 
April 11, 1822; Henry Spring Shedd, born February 
21, 1824; Elizabeth Thayer Shedd, born September 
9, 1825. In his last brief visit to Acton several 
years ago he said in conversation: " The old scenes 
and persons in Acton come back from my boyhood 
memories with outlines of distinctness more and 
more vivid as the years go by." 

Revolutionary Preliminaries. — At a special 
meeting in January, 1768, the town voted " to comply 
with the proposals sent to the town by the town of 
Boston, relating to the encouragement of manufac- 
ture among ourselves and not purchasing superflui- 
ties from abroad." 

In September of that year Joseph Fletcher was 
chosen to sit in a convention at Boston, to be holden 
on the 22d of that month. 

Action of the Town on the memorable 5th of March, 1770. 
"Taking into consideration the distressed circumstances tliat tills 
Province and all North America are involved in by reaBon(s) of the 
Acts of Parliament imposing duties and taxes for the sole purpose to 
raise a Revenue, and when the Royal ear seems to be stopt against all 
our humble Prayers and petitions for redress of grievances, and consid- 
ering the Salutary Measures that the Body of Merchants and Traders in 
this province have come into in order for the redress of the many 
troubles that we are involved in, and to support and maintain our 
Charter Rights and Privilego and to prevent our totnl Ruin aud De- 
struction, taking all these things into serious Consideration, came into 
the following votes : 

"1st. That we will useourutmost endeavorsto encourage and support 
the body of merchants and traders in their endeavors to retrieve this 
Province out of its present Distresses to whom this Town vote their 
thanksfor the Constitutional and spirited measures pursued by them for 
the good of this Province. 

" 2. That from this Time we will have no commercial or social connec- 
tion with those who at this time do refuse to contribute to the relief of 
this abused country— especially those that import British Goods contrary 



252 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



to the Agreement of the body of merchants in Boston or elsewhere, 
that we will not afford them our Custom, but treat them with the ut- 
most neglect anil all those who countenance them. 

" 3. That we will use our ulmost endeavors to prevent the consump- 
tion of all foreign superfluities, and that we will use our utmost En- 
deavors to promote and encourage our own manufactures. 

"4. That the Town Clerk transmit a copy of these votes of the Town 
to the Committee of Merchants of inspection at Boston. 

" A true copy attested. 

" Francis Faulkner, 
" Town Clerk." 

A committee of nine of the principal men of the 
town was appointed to consider the rights of the 
Colony and the violation of said rights, and draft such 
votes as they thought proper. 

In January, 1773, the following report of the Com- 
mittee was accepted and adopted : 

"Taking into serious consideration the alarming circumstances of 
the Province relating to the violation of our charter rights and privi- 
leges (as we apprehend) by the British administration, we are of opin- 
ion : That the rights of the Colonists natural, ecclesiastical and civil 
are well stated by the Town of Boston. 

"And it is our opinion that the taxing of us without our consent — 
the making the Governor of the Province and the Judges of the Supreme 
Court independent of the people and dependent on the Crown, out of 
money extorted from us, and many other instances of encroachments 
upon our said charter rights are intolerable grievances, and have a di- 
rect tendency to overthrow our happy constitution and bring us into a 
state of abject slavery. 

" But we have a gracious Sovereign, who is the Father of America 
as well as Great Britain, and as the man in whom ve have had no con- 
fidence is removed from before the Throne and another in whom we 
hope to have reason to put confidence placed in his stead, we hope that 
our petitions will be for warded and heard, and all our grievances re- 
dressed. 

" Voted also, that as we have no member in the house of Representa- 
tives, we earnestly recommend it to the Representative Body of this 
Province that you gentlemen, inspect with a jealous eye our charter 
rights and privileges, and that you use every constitutional method to 
obtain redress of all our grievances, and that you strenuously endeavor 
in such ways as you in your wisdom think fit, that the honorable judges 
of the Supreme Court may have their support as formerly agreeable to 
the charter of the Province. 

''Voted, That the sincere thanks of the Town be given to the inhabit- 
ants of the Town of Boston for their spirited endeavors to preserve our 
rights and privileges inviolate when threatened with destruction. 

In March, 1774, resolutions were passed with refer- 
ence to paying duty on tea belonging to the East 
India Company. 

In August, 1774, three of the principal citizens of 
the town were appointed delegates to a County Con- 
vention to be holden in Concord the 30th of that 
month. 

In October of the same year two of the three dele- 
gates referred to above were chosen to sit in a Pro- 
vincial Congress, which was to assemble at Concord 
soon, and at the same meeting a Committee of Cor- 
respondence was appointed. 

In December, 1774, £25 was voted for the use of 
the Province, and a vote was passed to indemnify the 
assessors for not making returns to the British gov- 
ernment. It was also voted to join the association of 
the Continental Congress, and a committee was ap- 
pointed to see that all inhabitants above sixteen years 
of age signed their compliance, and that the names of 
those who did not sign should be reported to the Com- 
mittee of Correspondence. Samuel Hay ward, Francis 



Faulkner, Jonathan Billings, Josiah Hay-ward, John 
Heald, Jr., Joseph Robbins and Simon Tuttle were 
chosen a committee for that purpose. 

In November, 1774, a company of minute-men was 
raised by voluntary enlistment, and elected Isaac 
Davis for their commander. The company by agree- 
ment met for discipline twice in each week, through 
the winter and spring till the fight at Concord. 

In January the town voted to pay them eight pence 
for every meeting till the 1st of May, provided they 
should be on duty as much as three hours, and should 
attend within half an hour the time appointed for the 
meeting. 

In the winter of 1774-7 the town had two militia 
companies, one in the south and one in the east. 

In 1775 Josiah Hayward was twice chosen a dele- 
gate to the Provincial Congress at Cambridge. 

In June, 1776, a vote was passed giving the follow- 
ing instructions to the representative of the town : 

" To Mr. Mark White : 

"Sir, — Our not being favored with the resolution to the Honorab le 
House of Representatives, calling upon the several towns in this 
Colony to express their minds with respect to the important question of 
American Independence is the occasion of our not expressing our 
minds sooner. 

" But we now cheerfully embrace this opportunity to instruct you on 
that important question. 

" The subverting our Constitrrtion, the many injuries and unheard of 
barbarities which the Colonies have received from Great Britain, confirm 
us in the opinion that the present age will bo deficient in their duty to 
God, their posterity and themselves, if they do not establish an Ameri- 
can Republic. This is the only form of Government we wish to see es- 
tablished. 

" But we mean not to dictate — 

" We freely submit this interesting affair to the wisdom of the Conti- 
nental Congress, who, we trust, are guided and directed by the Supreme 
Governor of the world, and we instruct you, sir, to give them the 
strongest assurance that, if they should declare America to be a Free 
and Independent Republic, your constituents will Bupport and defend 
the measure with their lives and fortunes." 

In October, 1776, when a proposition was before 
the people that the executive and legislative branches 
of the. Provincial Government should frame a Consti- 
tution for the State, the town of Acton committed the 
subject to Francis Faulkner, Ephraim Hapgood, 
Samuel Hayward, Ephraim Hosmer, Joseph Robbins 
and Nathaniel Edwards, who reported the following 
resolutions, which were unanimously accepted : 

" 1st. Remlved, that as this State is at present destitute of an estab- 
lished form of Government, it is necessary one should be immediately 
formed and established. 

"2. Resolved. That the Supreme Legislature in that capacity are by no 
means a body proper to form and establish a constitution for the follow- 
ing reasons, viz.: 

" Because a constitution properly formed has a system of principles es- 
tablished to secure subjects in the possession of their rights and privileges 
against any encroachments of the Leg-slative part, and it is our opinion 
that the same body which has a right to form a constitution has a right 
to alter it, and we conceive a constitution alterable by the Supreme 
Legislative power is no security to the subjects againBt the encroach- 
ments of that power on our rights and privileges. 

"Resolved, that the town thinks it expedient that a convention he 
chosen by the inhabitants of the several towns and districts in this 
State being free to form and establish a constitution for the State. 

" Rerolvd, That the Honorable Assembly of this State be desired to 
recommend to the inhabitants of the State to choose a convention for 
the above purpose as soon as possible. 



ACTON. 



253 



" Retained, that the Convention publish their proposed constitution lie- 
fore they establish it for tlio Inspection and remarks of the Inhabitants 
of this State." 

At a meeting in February, 1778, " the United States 
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union," 
after being twice read, were accepted by the town. 

In May, 1778, a Constitution and frame of govern- 
ment for the State, which had been formed by the 
General Court, was laid before the town for consid- 
eration, and was rejected by a vote of fifty-one to 
e ghteen. 

The instrument was so offensive to the inhabitants 
that in May, 1779, an article being inserted in the 
warrant, " to see if the town will choose at this time 
to have a new Constitution or frame of government," 
the constitution was rejected. 

The proposition, however, though rejected by this 
town, was accepted by a majority of the people, and 
in July, 1779. Francis Faulkner was chosen a dele- 
gate to sit in a convention in Cambridge to form 
a Constitution, and the result was that the present 
Constitution of this Commonwealth was laid before 
the town for consideration on the 28th day of April, 
1780,, and it being read, the meeting was adjourned 
for consideration till the 15th of May. 

On that the articles were debated, and at a further 
adjournment on the 29th of the same month every 
article was approved by a majority of more than two- 
thirds of the voters. These simple records show he- 
roic grit, combined statesmanship and patriotism 
worthy of those olden dates and worthy of any dates 
since or of any that are to follow. 

The Faulkner House (South Acton). — This is 
the oldest house now standing in Acton. You go 
from the railroad station south across the bridge and 
ascend the steep hill, and you at once approach the 
ancient structure. It has on its face and surroundings 
an impress of age, which strikes the eye at first 
glance, and the impress deepens as the eye tarries for 
a second look. 

Colonel Winthrop E. Faulkner, who died March 
25, 1880, aged seventy-five years, used to say that 
they told him when a child it must have been 150 years 
old then. No tongue and no records fix the original 
date of this ancient landmark. It is safe to call it 
200 years old, some parts of it at least. 

It was a block-house, and in the early Colonial 
times it was a garrison-house where the settlers in 
the neighborhood would gather in the night for pro- 
tection against the assaults of the Indians. 

Enter the southwest room. It will easily accom- 
modate 100 persons. It is a square room neatly kept 
and furnished with antique mementos. Raise your 
hand and you easily touch the projecting beams of 
dry hard oak, which the sharpest steel cannot cleave, 
eighteen inches solid. The space between the beams 
of the sides of the room are filled with brick, which 
make it fire-proof against the shot of the enemy. 

You notice the two small glass windows as large as 



an orange in the entering door of this room. They 
were for use in watching the proceeding of the courts 
which once were held here by Francis Faulkner, the 
justice. 

Measure the old chimney, nine feet by seven, solid 
brick furnished with three large fire-places and an 
oven below and an oven above in the attic for smok- 
ing hams, large enough to accommodate all the neigh- 
bors and hooks attached in the arch where the hams 
could remain suspended till called for. 

Mark that fine photograph on the wall. It is the 
life-like face of Colonel Winthrop E. Faulkner. 
Give him a royal greeting, for he was the life of the 
village and town in childhood's days and in later 
years, and there comes his aged widow, still living and 
gracing the old homestead and guarding the precious 
relics, now in her eigh:y-third year. 

Mrs. Lottie Flagg, her daughter, the veteran and 
successful school-teachf r, who does a noble work in 
helping the outfit and hospitality of this historic site. 
-Note her words as she repeats the tale of this rally- 
ing centre on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775. 

Francis Faulkner, Jr., a boy of fifteen years, was 
lying awake early in the morning, no one yet moving 
and listening to the clatter of a horse's feet drawing 
nearer and nearer. Suddenly he leaped from his bed, 
ran into his father's room and cried out, " Father, 
there's a horse coming on the full run and he's bring- 
ing news." His father, Colonel Francis, already had 
on his pantaloons and his gun in his hand. The fleet 
horseman wheeled across the bridge and up to the 
house, and shouted, " Rouse your minute-men, Mr. 
Faulkner! The British are marching on Lexington 
and Concord," and away he went to spread the news. 

Mr. Faulkner, without stopping to dress, fired three 
times as fast as he could load and fire — that being the 
preconcerted signal to call out the minute men. 

"And so, through the night, went his cry of alarm 
To every Middlesex village and farm ; 
A cry of defiance, and not of fear ; 
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, 
And a word that shall echo forever more." 

Being the chairman of safety and colonel of the 
Middlesex Regiment of Militia — the men were to as- 
semble at his house. Almost immediately a neighbor 
repeated the signal and the boy Francis listened with 
breathless interest to hear the signal guns grow faint- 
er and fainter off in the distant farm-houses. Signal- 
fires were also lighted, and every house awoke from 
its slumbers to the new era. By this time the family 
were all up in the greatest commotion — the younger 
children crying because the British would come and 
•kill them. Very soon the minute-men began to come 
in, every one with his guD, powder-horn, pouch of 
bullets and a piece of bread and cheese, the only 
breakfast he proposed to make before meeting the en- 
emy of his country. Some came hurrying in with 
their wives and children in the greatest excitement, to 
get more certain news and to know what was to be 



254 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



done. Word came from Captain Davis that he would 
march as soon as thirty should come in. In the mean 
time they were busy in driving down stakes on the 
lawn and hanging kettles for cooking the soldiers' 
dinners. They brought from the houses beef and 
pork, patatoesand cabbages. The women would cook 
the dinner, and some of the elder boys, of whom 
Francis, Jr., was one, weredesiguatedtobringitalong 
packed in saddle-bags. By the time these prelimin- 
aries for dinner were made Lieutenant 'Hunt took 
command of the West Militia Company, Capt. Faulk- 
ner having a few days before been promoted to the 
position of colonel of the Middlesex Regiment. 

The line was formed on the lawn south of the 
house, and they marched amid the tears of their fam- 
ilies. Colonel Faulkner accompanied them to take 
command of the Middlesex Regiment, as the other 
companies would come in at Concord. Uncle Fran- 
cis, the boy, waited with great impatience for the 
dinner to be cooked and packed. Every woman 
wanted to prepare the dinner complete and separate 
for her husband or sons. But after much discussion 
it was agreed to pack all the beef and pork, bread and 
vegetables, each kind by itself, and let the men them- 
selves divide it. At length, after some hours of talk- 
ing and boiling and packing, the horses were loaded, 
and the boys started off. 

I asked Uncle Francis why in the world they did not 
take a wagon, and one horse wonld be enough for the 
whole. Didn't they know enough to do that? "Oh, 
yes — they knew too much to do that," he said. The 
British soldiers might have the road. If we saw a 
red-coat we were told to give him a wide birth, or he 
might get us and our dinner. We could quietly top- 
ple over a stone wall or take out a few rails and escape 
through the fields and find our men wherever they 
might be. To the great surprise of the boy he found 
the Acton men iu the highest spirits. They had made 
the re<l-coats run for their lives. 

This house is so associated with the history of the 
Faulkner family, and this family is so blended with 
the history of the town, that a brief family record is 
here appended. 

Francis Faulkner, the father of Ammiruhammah, 
and the grandfather of Col. Francis Faulkner, was a 
rtsident of Andover, Mass., and married Abigail 
Dane, daughter of Rev. Francis Dane, the second 
minister of Andover, a woman of noble character and 
exemplary piety. She was accused of witchcraft, tried 
and condemned to death. She passed through the terri- 
ble ordeal with unshaken firmness, and the sentence 
was revoked. 

Ammiruhammah Faulkner, son of Francis, came ' 
from Andover and settled in " Concord Village," in 
1735, at the "great falls." of the "Great Brook," 
where he erected the mills which have since been 
owned and occupied by his descendants, where he 
died Aug. 4. 1756, aged sixty-four. 

Col. Francis Faulkner, son of Ammiruhammah, 



was born in Andover, Mass., Sept. 29, 1728, and died 
in Acton Aug. 5, 1805, aged seventy seven. He mar- 
ried Lizzie Mussey April 29, 1756. He was a member 
of the Provincial Congress held in Concord, 1774, 
and represented the town of Acton in the Legislature 
of 1783-4-5. He had a military commission under 
George IN., but the oppressive and arbitrary acts of 
Great Britain induced him to renounce his allegiance 
to the crown. In 1775 he was elected major of a reg- 
iment organized to "oppose invasion." 

On the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, he 
marched with the Acton patriots to the Concord 
North Bridge, where he engaged the British, and with 
his men pursued them to Charlestown. He was sev- 
eral times engaged in actual service during the war, 
being lieutenant-colonel in the Regiment Middlesex 
Militia called to reinforce the Continental Army at 
;he occupation of Dorchester Heights, in March, 1776. 
He was in service when Burgoyne was taken, and 
commanded the regiment which guarded the prison- 
ers on that occasion. He was a courageous officer, an 
able legislator and an exemplary Christian. He 
built the mills which for a century and a half have 
been k nown as the Faulkner Mills, now of South 
Acton. They were first only a saw and a grist-mill, 
the two most indispensable agents of civilization and 
comfort in a new country. To these was added in 
due time a fulling-mill, which was among the very 
earliest efforts at the manufacture of woolen cloth in 
this country. 

There was first a carding-machine, which changed 
as by magic the wool into beautiful rolls. They were 
distributed to many houses to be spun and woven icto 
rough woolen cloth and returned to the mill. Here 
the cloth was fulled under stampers with soap, which 
made it foam and helped cleanse and thicken it up. 
The process of f aising nap with teazles was exceed- 
ingly interesting. The teazle w«s a product of nature 
and seemed expressly and wonderfully created for 
that very purpose. Then came the shearing off in- 
equalities by the swift revolving shears and the final 
finishing up into cloth. When the wool was of fine 
quality and evenly spun the result was a passable 
broadcloth of great durability. 

In order to encourage wool production and skill in 
using it, prizes were offered for the finest specimen of 
home-made broadcloth — that is, the wool, the spin- 
ning and weaving were of home ; the rest was of the 
fulling-mill. This spinning and weaving were the 
fine arts of our grandmothers and greaf-grandmothers, 
and noble women were proud of the prizes they won. 
A prize to a spinster was sure to attract the most 
flattering attention and take her speedily out of spin- 
sterhood. 

Colonel Faulkner was not only an active, energetic 
"clothier," but also a leading citizen in all public in- 
terests. For thirty-five successive years he was 
chosen town clerk, and the records are kept with 
neatness, clearness and order. (See Cyrus Hamlin's 




COL. 



WINTHROP E. FAULKNER. 



ACTON. 



Historical Sketch, read before Historical Society at 
Lexington.) 

Winthrop Faulkner, the son of Francis, was born 
in Acton March 21, 1774. and died in Acton March 
17, 1813. He received a justice's commission at the 
age of twenty-three. He was a man of cultivated 
mind and sound judgment, and his advice was gener- 
ally sought for all important town matters. He 
was one of the original members of the Corinthian 
Lodge of Masons in Concord. 

Colonel Winthop E. Faulkner.— He was the 
son of Winthrop Faulkner, born April 16, 1805, and 
died March 25, 1880. He was initiated into the Co- 
rinthian Lodge of Masons in 1854. He married 
Martha Adams Bixby, of Framingham. He was 
noted in all the relations of life. He was an enter- 
prising miller, an enthusiast in music, dancing, mili- 
tary, civil, social and parish activities. He was a 
pushing man, forward in all enterprises for the pub- 
lic improvement. He was one of the prime movers 
in projecting the Fitchburg Railroad, and but for his 
enterprise in controlling the first plans, the road 
would have gone in another direction. He was for a 
long run of years one of the most active directors. 

The Bobbins House. — Returning from the 
Fletcher homestead to the main road, and proceeding 
direct by the cemetery and beyond till we reach 
nearly the brow of the hill on the left, we come to the 
site of what was for to many years called the Robbins 
House. The land on which it was located was pur- 
chased of Captain Thomas Wheeler, whose house (the 
first in Acton) was located a few rods to the south, 
near the little brook before described in this narra- 
tive. When the latter house was taken down the 
timbers were found to be in good condition, and were 
used in the construction of the L part of Nathan 
Robbins' house. 

It was an historic structure from the start, and was 
emphatically so after the 19th of April, 1775. "Be- 
fore light on that eventful morning, hours before the 
British entered Concord, a horseman, whose name 
was never known, going at full spe.ed (they spared 
neither horseflesh nor manflesh in those days), rode 
up to this house, then occupied by Captain Joseph 
Robbins, the commissioned officer in the town of 
Acton, who lived nearest North Bridge, and struck 
with a large, heavy club, as they thought, the corner 
of the house, never dismounting, but crying out at 
the top of his voice, ' Capt. Robbins! Capt. Robbins! 
up, up ! The Regulars have come to Concord. Ren- 
dezvous at old North Bridge! quick as possible 
alarm Acton.' " 

His only son — afterwards a venerable magistrate — 
John Robbins, Esq., was then asleep in the garret — 
a lad ten years old. 

But "those rappings" — and there was no sham 
about them — and that cry brought him to his feet 
inslanter and every other living man in that house. 
It waked the babe in the cradle. In a few minutes 



he was on "father's old mare," bound for Captain 
Davis's, not a mile off, who commanded the minute- 
men, and then to Deacon Simon Hunt's, in the west 
part of the town, who commanded the West Company 
as first lieutenant, Captain Francis Faulkner having, 
a lew days before, been promoted to be major, and the 
vacancy not having been filled. 

" The harrying footstepe of that steed 
The late of a uatijn was riding that night." 

The locality where this house stood is easily recog- 
nized from the indications on the ground. It was a 
two-story building. The barn was struck by light- 
ning in the year 1830, and was rapidly consumed. 
The citizens rallied to save the building, or at least 
part of it, but Esq. Robbins shouted out with his 
stentorian voice : "Boys, save your fingers. There is 
plenty of timber in the woods where this came from ! '* 
He knew how to shout, for he was often moderator of 
the Acton town-meetings, which gave him a good 
chance to drill in that liue of practice. The house 
stood afterwards for years unoccupied, but at last it 
yielded to the destiny of flames, supposed to have 
been an accide'&tal fire, from the carelessness of tran- 
sient occupants. The old door-stone still remains in 
position, battered somewhat by relic-hunters, who 
have chipped from it for the sake of a memento. A 
tablet memorial will some day be erected on this 
ground befitting its historic interest. 

The report of this house having been haunted in 
former years is easily credited by the superstitious, 
but denied by Lhe more phlegmatic crowd. That 
those April rappings should have reverberations long 
continued is credible, and any one going by of an 
imaginative and appreciative turn of mind can hear 
them still ringing iu his ears. 

Captain Davis' Route to the North Bridge. — 
The 19th of April, 1775. It was a bright, genial 
morning. The sun was up at a good, cheery height 
of an hour and a half. The birds were chanting the 
very best songs of the opening spring. The men were 
drawn up in line. The captain at last gave the word 
"march." Luther Blanchard, the fifer, and Francis 
Barker, the drummer, struck at once the stirring notes 
of the " White Cockade," and forward they moved 
with a quick, brave step. They soon reached the 
homestead of Parson Swift. -They could not stop for 
the greetings or the partings of the good man, but ou 
they pressed, with their faces set for Mother Concord. 
They moved along over the old and only road leading 
from the present site of Deacon W. W. Davis' cross- 
ing in a straight line through to the meeting-house 
on the " knowll." 

The road struck the other road just below Dr. Cow- 
dry's barn, where now stands Deacon John Fletcher's 
barn, just relocated by Moses Taylor, Esq. The old 
road-bed was found when recently digging the cellar 
for the barn. 

They could not stop for the silent benedictions of 
the old church, but the prayers and blessings of the 



256 



p;istor they could hear, and march all the. faster for 
the memory. The handkerchiefs waving from the 
Brooks Tavern doors and windows helped the thrill of 
the hour. Down the hills they moved by the present 
site of Mr. McCarthy, up the ascent 10 the right, over 
the heights on the road path, now closed, but still a 
favorite walk down the hill, across the Revolutionary 
Bridge, west of Horace Hosmer's present site, the 
road leading by the spot where the elms south of his 
house now stand. 

This bridge stood very near the spot where the 
railroad bridge now stands. Some of the stone which 
formed the abutments of the old bridge were used in 
the construction of the railroad bridge. The bridge, 
a few rods to the south of the original, has been 
sketched by Arthur F. Davis, Acton's young artist, 
and it is a favorite landscape etching on sale in the 
cities. 

Up the hill they hasten and turn to the right, going 
by Mr. Hammond Taylor's present residence, the old 
Brabrook homestead, on the south side, which was 
then the front side, the road on the north being a 
comparatively new opening; there thlry left the main 
road, struck through the woods, taking a bee-line to 
their deslined point. After passing the woods, the 
march is by the Nathan Brooks place, now owned 
and occupied by Mr. H. F. Davis. The passage 
then was by the nearest way to Barrett's Mills, as 
then called, not far from the North Bridge. 

Luther Blanchard. — He was born within the 
limits of what is now Boxboro', a part of Littleton at 
the time of the Concord Fight. He was a favorite 
young man, tall, straight, handsome and athletic. 
He was living at the time with Abner Hosmer, a 
mason, whose residence was the site of Mr. Herman 
A. Gould, on the South Acton road, from the West, 
making him a near neighbor to Captain Davis. He 
was learning the mason's trade. He was a notable 
fifer, and his skill and zeal on the morning of the 
19th had much to do wiih the spirit of the whole 
occasion. The scene was just adapted to wake the 
musical genius to its highest pitch, and if there were 
any white feathers around they soon changed to fiery 
red at the signal from Luther's fife. When they 
began firing at the bridge, the British at first used 
blank cartridges. Captain Davis inquired if they were 
firing: bullets. Luther said " Yes," for one had hit him 
and he was wounded. "If it had gone an inch fur- 
ther one way it would have killed me, and if an inch 
in the opposite direction it would have not have hit 
me at all." He followed on in the pursuit of the 
British on their retreat to Boston, fifing with all the 
vigor of his manly strength, which grew less as the 
excitement of the day bfgan to tell upon his wasted 
forces. The wound, which he did not think serious 
at firs', grew worse as he proceeded, and on reaching 
Cambridge he was obliged to be taken to a hospital, 
where he died. 

Mrs. Jona'.han B. Davis, a daughter of Simon Hos- 



mer, often told these facts to Mr. Luke Blanchard, 
now living. It was the statement of Mr. Luke 
Blanchard's father, who was always careful in what 
he affirmed, that Luther died from the effects of his 
wound. Luther Blanchard's brother Calvin died from 
the fall of a tree. He helped tear down barns to 
build the fort on Bunker Hill. He would carry one 
end of the timber while it would take two men at the 
other end to balance. 

Luther and Cilvin Blanchard's father was in the 
fight at Quebec, and lost his life on the Plains of 
Abraham. There must have been patriotic gun- 
powder in the very blood of the Blanchards at the 
original start. 

Aaron Jones was near Captain Davis when he fell, 
and followed in pursuit of the British on their re- 
treat. He never could forget that morning or speak 
of it without a changed tone and face. He thought 
much of Luther Blanchard as an associate on that 
eventful day, and of his fifing march. He named 
one of his sons Luther Blanchard in memory of the 
martyr fifer. As the first blood shed on the 19lh at 
Concord antedated the fall of Davis, in the person 
of Luther Blanchard, there ought to be a tablet, 
somewhere, memorizing the fact. 

The James Hay ward House. — The house in 
West Acton, formerly the residence of Hon. Stevens 
Hayward and in later years known as the Leland 
Place, now occupied by Mr. Kraetzer. Mr. Wood- 
bury, in his legislative speech, thus relates the cir- 
cumstances of James Hayward's fall on the 19th of 
April, 1775 : 

''At Fiske's Hill, in Lexington, they had, as some, 
thought, the severest encounter of all the way. The 
road ran around the eastern base of a steep, thick- 
wooded hill. James Hayward, who had been active 
and foremost all the way, after the British had passed 
on, came down from the hill and was aimiug for a 
well of water — the same well is still to be seen at the 
two-story Dutch-roofed red house on the right from 
Concord to Lexington, not two miles from the old 
meeting-house. As he passed by the eud of that 
house he spied a British soldier, still lingering behind 
the main body, plundering. The Briton also saw 
him and ran to the front door to cut him off. 
Lifting up his loaded musket he exclaims, ' You are 
a dead man.' Hayward immediately said, ' So are 
you.' They both fired and both fell. The Briton 
was shot dead, Hayward mortally wouuded, the ball 
entering his side through this hole," holding up the 
powder-horn, " driving the splinters into his body. 
He lived eight hours; retained his reason to the last. 

"His venerable father, Deacon Samuel Hayward, 
whose house he had left that morning in the bloom 
of vigorous manhood, had time to reach Lexington 
and comfort him with his conversation by rtading 
the Scriptures and prayer. ' Jamts, you are mortally 
wounded. You can live but a few hours. Before 
' sunrise to-morrow you will nu doubt be a corpse. 



POWDER HORN WORN BY JAMES HAYWARD, 

AT LEXINGTON, AND THROUGH WHICH HE WAS SHOT AND 
KILLED, APRIL 19, 1775. 



The town of Lexington has recently erected a Tablet with 
the following inscription : 

At this well, April 19, 1775, James Hayward, of Acton, met a 
British soldier who, raising his gun, said, "You are a dead man." "And 
so are you," replied Hayward. Both fired, the soldier was instantly 
killed, and Hayward mortally wounded. 



ACTON. 



1T> 7 



Are you sorry that you turned out ? ' ' Father, haud 
me my powder-horn and bullet-pouch. I started 
with one pound of powder and forty balls, you 
see what is left,'— he had used all but two or 
three of them, — ' you see what I have been about. I 
never did such a forenoon's work befcre. I am not 
sorry. Tell mother not to mourn too much (or me, 
for I am not sorry I turned out. I die willingly for 
my country. She will now, I doubt not, by help of 
God, be free. And tell her whom I loved better than 
my mother — you know whom I mean — that I am not 
sorry. I never shall see her again. May I meet her 
in heaven.' 

" Hay ward had lost, by the cut of an axe, part of 
his toes on one foot, and was not liable to military 
duty. He 'turned out' that morning as a volunteer 
in the strictest sense— as hundreds did. He was one 
of the earliest at Davis' house, belonged to the same 
school district and born and bred by the side of him, 
their fathers being next-door neighbors. He was 
twenty-eight years old, one of the most athletic, fine- 
looking, well-informed, well-bred young men in town. 
He had been a schoolmaster, he knew the crisis, he 
knew what he was fighting for and what was to be 
gained. He came early to Davis' house and acted 
with his company. He was seen to go to grinding on 
the grindstone the point of his bayonet there. On 
being asked why he did it, ' Because,' said he, ' I ex- 
pect, before night, we shall come to a push with them 
and I want my bayonet sharp.' '' 

A fine stone tablet has been erected by the town of 
Lexington opposite the house where Hayward fell, in 
honor of the man and the event. 

Abner Hosmer House. — Abner Hosmer, a pri- 
vate in Davis' company of minute-men; only 
twenty-two years old ; unmarried ; the son of Dea. 
Jonathan Hosmer, of the Acton Church. A friend 
and neighbor of Davis fell dead at the same volley- 
shot through the head. He lived where Mr. Gould 
now lives, half-way between South and West Villages, 
nearly a mile from either. 

Mrs. Mehitable Piper (Acton's centenarian). — 
She was the daughter of Joseph Barker (2d) and wife 
of Silas Piper; born Jan. 24, 1771. She died March 
25, 1872, at the age of 101 years and two months. 
Her funeral took place at her residence on the 28th. 
The house was filled with relatives and friends. After 
prayer and touching words of consolation a solemn 
funeral procession followed the remains to the church 
at the Centre. The house was filled in every part. 
Rev. Mr. Hayward, Universalist, and Rev. F. P. 
Wood, Orthodox, officiated. 

Her existence was contemporaneous with that of 
the nation itself. She saw her mother weep in her 
father's embrace when he tore himself from the 
bosom of his family to take the part of a patriot in 
the Concord fight. She was living at the time where 
Moses Taylor, Esq., now lives, and went up to the top 
of Raspberry Hill, back of Rev. F. P. Wood's present 
17 



residence, to see or hear something from Concord. 
She had seen every phase of her country's wonderful 
growth, and to perpetuate and promote it hail sent 
her descendants into the War of 1812 and through 
the streets of Baltimore to the terrible War of the Re- 
bellion. 

She was the last of the devoted band of Puritans 
who had worshiped God in the town at the time when 
religious differences were unknown. She was the 
relic of other days and the wept of many hearts. 
Though older than the nation, she did not live long 
enough to make a single enemy, and her friends were 
those who at any time had known or seen her. She 
was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery by the side of her 
partner. 

Some of her ancestors were remarkable for their 
longevity, her father being upwards of ninety-nine 
years of age at his death. 

She lived eighty years in one spot. She had twelve 
children, forty-two grandchildren, seventy great- 
grandchildren, and two children of the fifth genera- 
tion. Her father stood beside Captain Davis after he 
fell, and exclaimed to his comrades, "Boys, don't give 
up!" 

Rev. J. T. Woodbury's Speech.— Who was Cap- 
tain Isaac Davis? Who was Abner Hosmer? Who was 
James Hayward ? And what was Concord fight ? 
What did they fight for, and what did they win ? 
These were Massachusetts Province militiamen ; not 
in these good, quiet, piping times of peace, but in 
1775, at the very dark, gloomy outbreak of the Amer- 
ican Revolution. 

Let us turn back to the bloody annals of that 
eventful day. Let us see, as well as we can at this 
distance of three-quarters of a century, just how mat- 
ters and things stood. 

General Gage had full possession of this city. The 
flag that waved over it was not that of "the old pine- 
tree"; nor that one, with that beautiful insignia, over 
your head, sir — with the uplifted right hand lettered 
over with this most warlike and, to my taste, most 
appropriate motto in a wrongful world like this, 
" Ense ])etit placidam, sub libertate quietem." No, no ! 
It was the flag of that hereditary despot, George the 
Third ! 

And if there had been no Isaac Davis or other men 
of his stamp on the ground in that day, the flag of 
the crouching lion, the flag of Queen Victoria — due 
successor to that same hated George the Third ; first 
the oppressor, and then the unscrupulous murderer 
of our fathers ! Yes ; I know what I say — the un- 
scrupulous murderer of our fathers — would still wave 
over this beautiful city and would now be streaming 
in the wind over every American ship in this harbor. 
Where, in that case, would have been this Legisla- 
ture? Why, sir, it would never have been ; and my 
conscientious friend from West Brookfield, instead of 
sitting here a good "Free Soil" man, as he is, would 
have been called to no such high vocation as making 



258 



laws for a free people — for the good old Common- 
wealth of Massachusetts; voting for Robert Rantoul, 
Jr., or Charles Sumner, or Hon. Mr. Winthrop to 
represent us in a body known as the United States 
Senate, pronounced the most august, dignified legis- 
lative assembly in the civilized world. Oh, no ! Far 
otherwise! If permitted to legislate at all, it would 
be done under the dictation of Queen Victoria; and 
if he made laws it would be with a ring in his nose 
to pull him this way and that, or with his head in the 
British Lion's mouth — that same lion's mouth which 
roared in 1775 — showing his teeth and lashing his 
sides at our fathers. 

This city was in full possession of the enemy, and 
had been for several months. Gen. Gage had con- 
verted that house of prayer, the Old South Church — 
where we met a few days since, to sit, delighted 
auditors, to that unsurpassed election sermon — into a 
riding-school, a drilling-place for his cavalry. The 
pulpit and all the pews of the lower floor were, with 
vandal violence, torn out and tan brought in; and 
here the dragoons of King George practiced, on their 
prancing war-horses, the sword exercises, with Tory 
ladies and gentlemen for spectators in the galleries. 

At the 19th of April, 1775, it was not " Ease 
petit placidam, sub libertate quietcm." "Sub libertate!" 
It would have been, rather, "Sub vili servitio' 1 ' — sub 
anything — rather than liberty under the British 
Crown ! 

Information had been received from most reliable 
sources that valuable powder, ball and other munitions 
of war were deposited in Concord. Gen. Gage determ- 
ined to have them. Concord was a great place in '75. 
The Provincial Congress had just suspended its session 
there of near two months, adjourning over to the 10th 
of May, with Warren for their president, and such men 
as old Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams 
and James Otis as their advisers. Yes, Concord was 
the centre of the brave old Middlesex, containing 
within it all the early battle-grounds of liberty — Old 
North Bridge, Lexington Common and Bunker Hill — 
and was for a time the capital of the Province, the 
seat of the Government of the Colony of Massachu- 
setts Bay. 

And Concord had within it as true-hearted Whig 
patriots as ever breathed. Rev. Mr. Emerson was 
called a "high son of liberty." To contend with ty- 
rants and stand up against them, resisting unto blood, 
fighting for the inalienable rights of the people, was 
a part of his holy religion. And he was one of the 
most godly men and eloquent ministers in the Col- 
ony. He actually felt it to be his duty to God to quit 
that most delightful town and village, and that most 
affectionate church and people, and enter the Conti- 
nental army and serve them as chaplain of a regiment. 

What a patient, noble-hearted, truthful, loyal, con- 
fiding, affectionate generation of men they were. 
And remember, these were the men, exasperated be- 
yond all further endurance by the course of a deluded 



Parliament and besotted ministry, who flew to arms 
on the 19th of April, 1775. These were the men who 
then hunted up their powder-horns and bullet-pouches, 
! took down their guns from the hooks, and ground up 
their bayonets, on that most memorable of all days 
in the annals of the old thirteen Colonies — nay, in 
the annals of the world — which record the struggles 
that noble men have made in all ages to be free ! 

Yes, to my mind, Mr. Speaker, it is a more glorious 
day, a day more full of thrilling incidents and great 
steps taken by the people to be free than even the 
4th of July, itself, 1776. 

Why, sir, the 19th of April, '75, that resistance, 
open, unorganized, armed, marshaled resistance at 
the old North Bridge- — that marching down in battle 
array, at that soul-stirring air, which every soldier in 
this house must remember to this day, for the tune is 
in fashion yet — I mean " the White Cockade " — was 
itself a prior declaration of independence, written out 
not with ink upon paper or parchment, but a decla- 
ration of independence made by drawn swords, up- 
lifted right arms ; fixed bayonets ground sharp, crack- 
ing musketry, a declaration written out in the best 
blood of this land, at Lexington first, and finally all 
the way for eighteen miles from Old North Bridge to 
Charlestown Neck, where these panting fugitives 
found shelter under the guns of British ships of war 
riding at anchor in Mystic River ready to receive 
them ; a declaration that put more at hazard, and cost 
the men who made it more, after all, of blood and 
treasure, than that of 1776. 

It cost Davis, Hosmer and Hayward and hundreds 
of others, equally brave and worthy, their hearts' blood. 
It cost many an aged father and mother their darling 
son, many a wife her husband, many a Middlesex 
maid her lover. 

Oh, what a glorious, but oh, what a bloody day it 
was ! That was the day which split in twain the Brit- 
ish empire never again to be united. What was the 
battle of Waterloo? What question did it settle? 
Why, simply who, of several kings, should wear the 
crown. Well, I always thought, ever since I read it, 
when a boy, that if I had fought on either side it 
would have been with Napoleon against the allied 
forces. But what is the question to me, or what is the 
question to you, or to any of us, or our children after 
us, if we are to be ruled over by crowned heads and 
hereditary monarchs ? What matters it who they are, 
or which one it shall be? 

In ancient times three hundred Greeks, under Le- 
onidas, stood in the pass of Thermopyhe and for three 
successive days beat back and kept at bay five million 
Persians, led on by Xerxes, the Great. It was a gal- 
lant act, but did it preserve the blood-bought liberties 
of Greece? No. In time they were cloven down, 
and the land of Demosthenes and Solon marked for 
ages by the footsteps of the slave. 

We weep over it, but we cannot alter it. But not 
so, thank God ! with " Concord fight," and by " Con- 



THE BRONZE STATUE WHICH STANDS UPON THE SPOT WHERE 
CAPT. ISAAC DAVIS AND PRIVATE ABNER HOSMER 
FELL IN THE CONCORD FIGHT. 



ACTON. 



cord ligbt," I say here, for fear of being misunderstood, 
I mean by " Concord " all the transactions of that 
day. 

I regard them as one great drama, scene first of 
which was at Lexington early in the morning, when 
old Mrs. Harrington called up her son Jonathan, who 
alone, while I speak, survives of all that host on either 
side in arms that day. He lives, blessed be God, he 
still lives ; I know him well, a trembling, but still 
breathing memento of the renowned past ; yet linger- 
ing by mercy of God on these " mortal shores," if for 
nothing else, to wake up your sleeping sympathies and 
induce you, if anything could, to aid in the noble 
work of building over the bones of his slaughtered 
companions-in-arms, Davis, Hosmer and Hayward, 
such a monument as they deserve. Oh, I wish he was 
here. I wish he only stood on yonder platform, noble 
man ! 

" Concord fight " broke the ice. " Concord fight," 
the rush from the heights at North Bridge was the 
first open marshaled resistance to the King. Our 
fathers, cautious men, took there a step that they 
could not take back if they would, and would not if 
they could. Till they made that attack probably no 
British blood had been shed. 

If rebels at all, it was only on paper. They had not 
levied war. They had not vi et armis attacked their 
lawful king. But by that act they passed the Rubicon ; 
till then they might retreat with honor ; but after that 
it was too late. The sword was drawn and had been 
made red in the blood of princes, in the person of their 
armed defenders. 

Attacking Captain Laurie and his detachment at 
North Bridge was, in law, attacking King George him- 
self. Now they must fight or be eternally disgraced. 
And now they did fight in good earnest. They 
drew the sword and threw away, as well they might, 
the scabbard. Yesterday they humbly petitioned. They 
petitioned no longer. ,Oh, what a change from the 
19th to the 20th of April. They had been, up to 
that day, a grave, God-fearing, loyal, set of men, hon- 
oring the king. Now they strike for national inde- 
pendence and after a seven-years' war, by the help of 
God, they won it. They obtained nationality. It 
that day breathed into life ; the Colony gave way to 
the State ; that morning Davis and all of them were 
British colonists. They became by that day's resist- 
ance either rebels doomed to die by the halter, or free, 
independent citizens. If the old Pine Tree flag still 
waved over them unchanged, they themselves were 
changed too, entirely and forever. 

Old Middlesex was allowed the privilege of opening 
this war; of first baptizing -the land with her blood. 
God did well to select old Middlesex, and the loved 
and revered centre of old Middlesex, namely, Concord, 
as the spot not where this achievement was to be com- 
pleted, but where it was to be begun, and well begun ; 
where the troops of crowned kings were to meet, not 
the troops of the people, but the people themselves, 



and be routed and beaten from the field, and what is 
more, stay beaten we hope, we doubt not to the end 
of time. 

And let us remember that our fathers, from the first 
to the last in that eventful struggle, made most de- 
vout appeals to Almighty God. It was so with the 
whole Revolutionary War. It was all begun, con- 
tinued and ended in God. Every man and every boy 
that went from the little mountain town of Acton 
with its five hundred souls, went that morning from a 
house of prayer. A more prayerful, pious, God-fear- 
ing, man-loving people, I have never read or heard of ; 
if you have, sir, I should like to know who they are, 
and where they live. They were Puritans, Plymouth 
Rock Puritans, men who would petition and petition 
and petition, most respectfully and most courteously, 
and when their petition and petitioners, old Ben. 
Franklin and the re9t, were proudly spurned away 
from the foot of the throne, petition again ; and do 
it again for more than ten long, tedious, years ; but 
after all they would fight and fight as never man 
fought, and they did so fight. 

When such men take up arms let kings and queens 
take care of themselves. When you have waked up 
such men to resistance unto blood you have waked up 
a lion in his den. You may kill them. They are vul- 
nerable besides on the heel, but, my word for it, you 
never can conquer them. 

At old North Bridge, about nine o'clock in the fore- 
noon, on the memorable* 19th of April, 1775, King 
George's troops met these men and after receiving 
their first fire fled, and the flight still continues — the 
flight of kings before the people. 

Davis' minute-men were ready first and were on 
the ground first. They were an elite corps, young 
men, volunteers, and give me young men for war. 
They must be ready at a moment's warning. They 
were soon at Davis' house and gun-shop. Here they 
waited till about fifty had arrived. While there some 
of them were powdering their hair just as the Greeks 
were accustomed to put garlands of flowers on their 
heads as they went forth to battle, and they expected 
a battle. They were fixing their gun-locks and mak- 
ing a few cartridges, but cartridges and cartridge- 
boxes were rare in those days. The accoutrements 
of the heroes of the Revolution were the powder-horn 
and the bullet-pouch, at least of the militia. 

And Concord fight, with all its unequaled and un- 
eclipsed glory was won, by help of God, by Massachu- 
setts militiamen. Some were laughing and joking to 
think that they were going to have what they had for 
months longed for, a " hit at old Gage." But Davis 
was a thoughtful, sedate, serious man, a genuine Puri- 
tan like Samuel Adams, and he rebuked them. He 
told theni that in his opinion it was "a most eventful 
crisis for the colonies ; blood would be spilt, that was 
certain ; the crimsoned fountain would be opened, 
none could tell when it would close, nor with whose 
blood it would overflow. Let every man gird himself 



260 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX 



for battle, and not be afraid, for God is on our side. 
He bad great hopes that the country would be free, 
though lie might not live to see it." The truth was, 
and it should come out. 

Davis expected to die that day if he went into bat- 
tle. He never expected to come back alive to that 
house. 

And no wonder that after the company started and 
had marched out of his lane some twenty rods to the 
highway he halted them and went back. He was an 
affectionate man. He loved that youthful wife of his 
and those four sick children, and he thought to see 
them never again and he never did. There was such 
a presentiment in his mind. His widow has often 
told me all about it and she thought the same her- 
self, and no wonder he went back and took one more 
last lingering look of them, saying — he seemed to 
want to say something, but as he stood on that 
threshold where I have often stood and where, in my 
mind's eye, I have often seen his manly form, he 
could only say, " Take good care of the children," 
the feelings of the father struggling in him and for a 
moment almost overcoming the soldier. The ground 
of this presentiment was this : A few days before the 
fight Mr. Davis and wife had been away from home 
of an afternoon. On returning they noticed, as they 
entered, a large owl sitting on Davis' gun as it hung 
on the hooks — his favorite gun — the very gun he car- 
ried to the fight — a beautiful piece for those days — 
his own workmanship — the* same he grasped in both 
hands when he was shot at the bridge, being just 
about to fire himself and which, when stone dead, he 
grasped still, his friends having, to get it away, to un- 
clinch his stiff fingers. 

Sir, however you may view this occurrence or how- 
ever I may, it matters not ; I am telling how that 
brave man viewed it and his wife and the men of 
those times. It was an ill omen — a bad sign. The 
sober conclusion was that the first time Davis went 
into battle he would lose his life. This was the con- 
clusion, and so it turned out. The family could give no 
account of the creature and they knew not how it 
came in. The hideous bird was not allowed to be 
disturbed or frightened away, and there he stayed two 
or three days sitting upon that gun. 

But mark : with this distinct impression on his 
mind did the heart of this Puritan patriarch quail ? 
No ; not at all, not at all. He believed in the Puri- 
tan's God — the Infinite Spirit sitting on the throne 
of the Universe, Proprietor of all, Creator and up- 
holder of all, superintending and disposing of all, 
that the hairs of his head were all numbered and not 
even a sparrow could fall to the ground without his 
God's express notice, knowledge and consent. He 
took that gun from those hooks with no trembling 
hand or wavering heart, and with his trusty sword 
hanging by his side he started for North Bridge with 
the firm tread of a giant. Death ! Davis did not 
fear to die. And he had the magic power, which 



some men certainly have. God bestows it upon them 
to inspire every one around them with the same feel- 
ing. His soldiers to a man would have gone any- 
where after such a leader. 

After about two miles of hurried march they came 
out of the woods only a few rods from Colonel James 
Barrett's, in Concord, and halted in the highway, 
whether discovered or not (this road came into the 
road by Barrett's some twenty rods from Barrett's 
house), looking with burning indignation to see Cap- 
tain Parsons and his detachment of British troopers 
with axes break up the gun-carriages and bring out 
hay and wood and burn them in the yard. 

They had great thoughts of firing in upon them 
then and there to venture. But Davis was a military 
man, and his orders were to rendezvous at North 
Bridge and he knew very well that taking possession 
of North Bridge would cut off all retreat for this de- 
tachment of horse and they must be taken prisoners. 

In a few minutes more he wheeled his company 
into line on the high lands of North Bridge, taking 
the extreme left of the line — that line being formed 
facing the river, which was his place, as the youngest 
commissioned officer present in the regiment — a place 
occupied a few days before by him at a regimental 
muster of the minute-men. 

A council of war was immediately summoned by 
Colonel James Barrett and attended on the spot, 
made up of commissioned officers and Committees of 
Safety. The question was, What shall now be done? 
The provincials had been talking for months, nay, 
for years, of the wrongs they had borne at the hands 
of a cruel motherland. They had passed good paper 
resolutions by the dozen. They had fired off their 
paper-bullets, but what shall now be done f Enough 
had been said. What shall now be done? What a 
moment! What a crisis for the destinies of this land 
and of all lands, of the rights and liberties of the 
human race. Never was a council of war or council 
of peace called to meet a more important question, 
one on the decision of which more was at stake. 
Their council was divided. Some thought it best, at 
once, to rush down and take possession of the bridge 
and cut off the retreat of Captain Parsons ; others 
thought not. 

Here were probably found in battle array over six 
hundred troops standing there under arms. Colonel 
Smith and Major Pitcairn were in plain sight, with 
their red coats on, their cocked-up hats and their 
spy-glasses inspecting from the old grave-yard hills 
the gathering foe, for they came in from all directions 
suddenly, unaccountably, like the gathering of a sum- 
mer thunder-cloud. Of course it was admitted on 
all hands that they could take possession of the 
bridge, but it was to be expected that this skirmish 
must bring on a general engagement with the main 
body in the town. The Provincials would be in 
greater force by twelve o'clock M. than at nine. And 
if the whole British Army of eight huudred men 



THE ACTON MINUTE-MEN. 

MARCHING UNDER THE ARCH AT THE OLD NORTH BRIDGE, CONCORD, 
AT THE CENTENNIAL, APRIL 19, 1875. 



ACTON. 



should take the field against them in their present 
number most undoubtedly the men would run — they 
never would " stand fire." Their officers thought so : 
their officers said so on the spot. They gave it as 
their opinion, and it is probable that no attack at 
that hour would have been made had it not happened 
that, at that moment, the smoke began to rise from 
the centre of the town — all in plain sight from these 
heights — the smoke of burning houses. And they 
said, Shall we stand here like cowards and see Old 
Concord burn ? 

Colonel Barrett gave consent to make the attack. 
Davis came back to his company, drew his sword and 
commanded them to advance six paces. He then 
faced them to the right, and at his favorite tune of 
" The White Cockade " led the column of attack 
towards the bridge. By the side of Davis marched 
Major Buttrick, of Concord, as brave a man as lived, 
and old Colonel Robinson, of Westford. The British 
on this began to take up the bridge; the Americans 
on this quickened their pace. Immediately the firing 
on both sides began. Davis is at once shot dead 
through the heart. The ball passed quite through 
his body, making a very large wound, perhaps driv- 
ing in a button of his coat. His blood gushed out in 
one great stream, flying, it is said, more than ten feet, 
besprinkling and besmearing his own clothes, these 
shoe-buckles and the clothes of Orderly Sergeant 
David Forbush and a file leader, Thomas Thorp. 
Davis, when hit, as is usual with men when 
shot thus through the heart, leaped up his full 
length and fell over the causeway on the wet ground, 
firmly grasping all the while, with both hands, that 
beautiful gun ; and when his weeping comrades came 
to take care of his youthful but bloody remains, they, 
with difficulty, unclutched those hands now cold and 
stiff in death. He was just elevating to his sure eye 
this gun. No man was a surer shot. What a bap- 
tism of blood did those soldiers then receive ! The 
question is now, Do these men deserve this monu- 
ment? One that shall speak? 

Davis' case is without a parallel and was so con- 
sidered by the Legislature and by Congress when 
they granted aid to his widow. There never can be 
another. There never can be but one man who headed 
the first column of attac/: on the King's troops in the 
Eerohitionary War. And Isaac Davis was that i/><at. 
Others fell, but not exactly as he fell. Give them 
the marbie. Vote them the monument, one that 
shall speak to all future generations and speak to the 
terror of kings and to the encouragement of all who 
will be free and who, when the bloody crisis comes 
to strike for it, " are not afraid to go." 

The Birth-Place of Captain Isaac Davis. — 
Captain Isaac Davis was the son of Ezekiel Davis 
and Mary Gibson, of Stow. He was born February 
23, 1745, at the place in West Acton known as the 
Jonathan B. Davis House, where Mr. George Hagar 
now lives. He was baptized, June 23, 1745. He 



married Hannah Brown, of Acton, October 24, 1704. 
She was born in Acton in 174(5. On February 10, 17H5, 
he covenanted with the church. 

Captain Isaac Davis' House at the Time of 
the Concord Fight. — It lies about eighty rods 
southwest, from the present site of Deacon W. W. 
Davis, at Acton Centre. We pass through the lane 
from Deacon Davis', still traveled as a private way, 
but at that time the old road ; then go through the 
pastures, then strike the avenue leading to the resi- 
dence of Mr. Charles Wheeler. His present house 
now stands very nearly where Captain Davis' house 
stood in 1775. 

The two fine elms in front on the opposite side of 
the road, if permitted to stand, will help the anti- 
quarian to locate the grounds, destined, as the years go 
by, more than ever to be the centre of Acton's local 
interest. The house in which he lived, has been re- 
placed by another and that one repaired and enlarged. 
It was for many years the residence cf Nathaniel 
Greene Brown, from 1812. It was occupied by Joseph 
Brown many years before 1812. It was known for 
some time as the Ward Haskell place, who recon- 
structed the building in later years, a noted carpenter. 
Elias Chaffiu occupied the place in 1812. The origi- 
nal house was two story in front, and the back sloped 
down to one, the kitchen in the lower part. 

An old apple-tree, a few years since, stood seven 
rods from Mr. Wheeler's house in his present orchard. 
This was the shooting mark of Captain Davis in his 
gun practice. The scars made by the bullets had 
been healed over, and what seemed like burrs covered 
the body of the tree when cut down. Mr. Wheeler now 
regrets that the wood of this tree was not at the time 
made into small memorial blocks, as keepsakes in 
memory of the noted marksman. Such relics are 
more in demand now that the days of the newness 
have passed, and the oldness has come instead. 

This site must ever have a historical value, as the 
house of Davis, on the morning of the 19th of April, 
1775, where his company gathered, ready for battle, 
and where the funeral took place, of the three mar- 
tyred soldiers, Mr. Swift officiating, and where the 
yeomanry of this surrounding country met on that 
epoch day, to join with the widow and the breaved 
public in solemn rites of burial. The antique flat 
stepping-stone at the ell door of Mr. Wheeler's house 
is the same trodden by Captain Davis and family, 
and consecrated by the remembrances of that funeral 
occasion. 

Captain Isaac Davis' Widow and Family 
Record and later Residence. — The children of 
Isaac and Hannah (Brown) Davis were: Isaac, born 
in 1765, a bachelor. He gave his father's sword to 
Concord. Another son whose name is not known. 
Hannah, born in 1768, and married Amos Noyes in 
1793. She had a daughter, Harriet, who married Mr. 
Simon Davis, the father of Harriet and Simon Davis. 
Amos Noyes was the grandfather of Lucian Ephraim > 



262 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



born in 1773, settled in Maine. Mary, born in 1774, 
married Noab Fitch in 1796. 

The widow married for second husband Mr. Samuel 
Jones, a man of property, July 30, 1782. She had by 
Mr. Jones, Samuel and Eliza. Samuel was a lawyer 
and built the house adjoining the monument house, 
one story, where he had a law-office. 

The building was built upon the stumps of the trees, 
without a cellar. These old stumps were found years 
afterwards when digging the cellar. This house was 
afterwards more recently raised to two stories by 
Simon Davis. 

Samuel also built the house owned and occupied 
now by Mr. John E. Cutter, and the house now owned 
and occupied by Rev. F. P. Wood, and where for a 
time Mr. Jones himself lived. 

Elijah married a Mr. Waite, and lived in Groton, 
Massachusetts, and afterwards moved to Albany, 
New York. She taught school and was highly edu- 
cated. She secured on one of her visits to Acton a 
fine oil portrait of her mother in later life, which was 
much admired and must be a valuable painting if 
still preserved as an heirloom. 

For her third husband she married a Mr. Francis 
Leighton, of Westford, November 21, 1802. After 
his decease she lived with her granddaughter, Mrs. 
Simon Davis (Harriet Noyes) occupying the house 
now owned by Mr. Lucian Noyes, the grandson of 
Amos Noyes. 

There she was living when Rev. Mr. Woodbury 
called upon her in company with his brother Levi. 
When asked by Mr. Levi how she managed to live so 
long, she replied, " I have always lived on the best I 
could get." 

She was a good-sized woman, well developed, and 
with marked features. She is well remembered by 
many still living in Acton. 

Mr. Woodbury, in his legislative speech, thus refers 
to her: " These buckles were given to me by Davis' 
widow, when ninety years old, under very affecting 
circumstances. I had rendered her aid, in pro- 
curing an annuity of fifty dollars from the Common- 
wealth, and that being insufficient, two hundred 
dollars more from the United States. Before these 
grants she had nearly come to want. The money 
arrived. We were all delighted at the success almost 
unexpected, for advocating which before the House 
of Representatives I am under greater obligations to 
my eloquent friend on my right (General Caleb Gush- 
ing), then a member of the House, than to any other 
man, and to Honorable Daniel Webster in the 
United States Senate, for which, with all his recent 
sins on his head, I must love him as long as I live. 
He never employed his gigantic mind in a nobler 
cause." 

On receiving the money, " Take your pay, Mr. 
Woodbury," said the old lady. 

"I am fully paid already," I said ; " but, if you have 
any Revolutionary relic of your husband. Captain 



Davis, if nothing more than a button, I should like it 
right well. She took her cane and hobbled along to 
her old chest and drew out these shoe-buckles. 

" There," said she, " I have lost everything else 
that belonged to him. These I had preserved for his 
children, but if you will accept them they are yours." 

Precious relics! seventy-five years ago bathed in 
the heart's blood of one who, in the name of God and 
oppressed humanity, headed the column of the first 
successful attack in modern times of people re- 
sisting kings, of ruled against rulers, of oppressed 
against oppressors. Yes, the very first in these years 
of the world, but by the grace of God, who has de- 
clared himself the God of the oppressed, not the last ! 
no, by no means. When I have done with them I 
will hand them over to my children as worth their 
weight in gold. By these buckles I would swear 
my son, as Hamilcar, that noble African prince, 
swore his son Hannibal, " never to give up to Rome." 
I say, by these shoe-buckles, would I swear my son 
to be faithful unto death, as Davis was in the cause of 
human liberty, and the just rights of man. Handle 
them, sir ! handle them ! How at the touch of these, 
patriotism, like electricity, will thrill through your 
bones : 

"And one was safe and asleep in his bed, 
Who at the bridge would be first to fall, 
Who that day would be lying dead, 
Pierced by a British musket ball." 

Revolutionary War. — January 20, 1776, Mid- 
dlesex County was ordered to raise a regiment of 571. 
Acton's quota was thirteen. 

A new organization of militia was made in Febru- 
ary, 1776, and Acton was assigned to the Third Regi- 
ment, Francis Faulkner, of Acton, being made 
Lieutenant-colonel. The officers of the Acton com- 
pany were Simon Hunt, captain; John Heald, Jr., 
first lieutenant ; Benjamin Brabrook, second lieuten- 
ant. A regiment raised inSeptember,1776,commanded 
by Eleazer Brooks, of Lincoln, was in the battle of 
White Plains. Rev. Moses Adams, of Acton, was 
chaplain. The Acton company was in the engage- 
ment, Thomas Darby being killed. The regiment be- 
haved bravely. 

Of a company of eighty-nine men at Dorchester, in 
the fall of 1776, Acton furnished five. 

Thirteen Acton men were of the 670 Middlesex men 
in the three months' New York Campaign, beginning 
in November, 1776. 

A company sent to Rhode Island in the summer of 
1777 had for its first lieutenant Daniel Davis, of 
Acton. In October, same year, a volunteer company 
of sixty-three men from Acton and Concord left Con- 
cord for Saratoga, arriving there on the 10th and en- 
camping two days. On the 13th they went to Fort 
Edward. On the 14th and 15th they wenton a scout, 
and on the 16th brought in fifty-three Indians, several 
Tories and some women. They returned to Saratoga 
on the 16th, and had the pleasure to see the whole of 
Burgoyne's army " parade their arms," and march out 



WIFE OF CAPTAIN ISAAC DAVIS. 



ACTON. 



203 



of our lines. They guarded the prisoners to Cam- 
bridge. Captain Simon Hunt, of Acton, commanded 
the company that was of the guard at Cambridge, 
November 28, 1777. 

Acton furnished five men for the army April 20, 
1779; four more between April and June; eleven, 
September 1st; eleven June 5, 1780; ten December 
2d ; and eight June 15, 1781. 

List of the Men of Acton in the War of the Revolution. 
Isaac Davis ; Capt. Davis liveil on the Ward Haskell farm, about one 
mile west of the meeting-house. John Hayward, Lieut., grandfather 
Co Ebenezer Hayward, lived on the Swift Fletcher place. John Ileald, 
Ensign, entered the Continental army and rose to be Captain ; lived on 
John Nickles' place, and after the war kept tavern on the Westford 
and Concord road, under tlio great elms, where John Ileald died a few 
years since, and where his son William now resides. His daughter 
Lydia gave me a letter of Ensign John, dated at Ticonderoga, March 20, 
1776, for his wife, directed to Lieut. John Heald, his father, who was 
out also in the Revolutionary war. Joseph Piper, clerk, uncle to our 
Silas Piper ; David Forbush, Orderly Sergeant, died 181)3, aged 85, uncle to 
Captain Forbush, covered with David's blood when shot ; Oliver Em- 
erson, Sergeant, died in 1818, aged 43 years ; George Mayfield, Sergeant ; 
Seth Brooks, Sergeant, grandfather of Esquire Nathan Brooks ; Luther 
Blanchard, lifer ; Francis Baker, drummer ; Joseph Braker 2d ; Ephraim 
Billings, out in most of the war ; Oliver Brown ; Joseph Chaffin, out in 
most of the war ; Exekiel Davis, brother to Captain Isaac ; David Davis ; 
Elijah Davis; John Davis, Mr. Luther Conant's uncle; Reuben Davis, 
at the taking of Burgoyue ; Jacob Gilbert ; Dea. Benjamin Hayward, 
out in most of the war, brother of James; Abner Hosmer, killed; 
James Law, Reuben Law, Joseph Locke, Philip Piper; Joseph Reed, 
out in most of the war, our William R.'s father ; Stephen Shepherd, out 
ill most of the war ; Solomon Smith, at the taking of Burgoyue ; Jona- 
than Stratton; William Thomas, a school teacher, well informed; 
Thomas Thorp, Ord. Sergeant several years in the Continental army, 
and was during all the war ; died, 9G yiars old, at Acton ; Jonas Hunt, 
he was Frances Tuttle's uncle; Abraham Young; Stephen Hosmer, 
brother to Abner, who was killed ; total of Capt. Davis's company, 
Joseph Harris (alive in 1851, 81 years old) said the true number was 38 ; 
James Hayward, an exempt, acted with them as volunteer ; A. F. 
Adams, John Adams ; Benjamin Brabrook, deacon ; Joseph Brabrook ; 
Joseph Barker 1st, our Joseph's grandfather ; Samuel Barker, John 
Barker, William Barker ; David Barker, died at Ticonderoga in 1770 ; 
James Billings ; Jonathan Billings, died 1824, at the age of 85; Joseph 
Brooks, Daniel Brooks, Silas Brooks, Paul Brooks, George F. Brooks, 
Elias Barrow, David Brooks ; Joseph Brown, Captain during the war, 
fought at Bunker Hill and Saratoga, and received a ball at Bunker Hill, 
which lodged in his body and was afterwards skillfully extracted and 
Brown shot it back at Saratoga ; Stephen Chaffin ; Elias Chaffiu, died in 
1832, aged 77 ; David Chaffin, Simon Chaffin, John Chaffin ; Francis 
Chaffiu, alarmed Joseph Reed, went into Continental army aud died of 
small-pox; Robert Chattin, Esq., Robert's father, died 1828, aged 76; 
John Cole, William Cutting, Silas Conant, Josiah Davis (Isaac's brother), 
Stephen Davis, Jonas Davis, James Davis, Ephraim Davis, A. C. Davis, 
Samuel Davis, Amos Davis ; Dauiel Davis, Captain, and father to Eben- 
ezer, was at the taking of Burgoyue ; Flint Davis ; John Dexter, brother 
to Timothy ; Ephraim Dudley ; Thomas Derby, killed in battle ; Col. 
John Edwards, Nathauiel Edwards, John Faulkuer, A. Faulkner, Na- 
thaniel Faulkner; Col. Francis Faulkner, at the taking of Bnrgoyne, 
and was Col., grandfather to Col. Wiuthrop E. Faulkner ; James Faulk- 
ner, Ephraim Forbush, Samuel Fitch; James Fletcher, father to Dea. 
John Fletcher, took part in the Concord fight at sixteen years of age, as 
a voluuteer in Davis's company, afterwards enlisted and served through 
the war, and died, from the fall of a tree, at 53, without pay and before 
pensions ; Peter Fletchor, Jonas Fletcher, Col. Joseph Fletcher, Daniel 
Henry Flint, Samuel Fitch, Jude Gilbert; Titus Hayward, colored man, 
hired by Simon Tuttle ; Simon Hayward ; Dea. Samuel Hayward, father 
of Jonas; James Hayward, killed, acted as volunteer in Davis' com* 
pany ; Samuel Hayward, Jr., Josiah Hayward, sons of Samuel ; Stephen 
Hayward, father of Hon. Steven Hayward ; Ephraim Hapgood, father 
of Nathaniel ; John Hapgood, John Hapgood, Jr. ; Jonathan Hosmer, 
Esq., Simon's father, died in the army ; Abraham Bapgood, father of 
James ; Col. John Heald, father of John H. ; Ephraim Hosmer; Sam- 
uel Hosmer, father of Dea. Silas Hosmer ; Simon Huut, Lieut., com- 
manding West Company of common militia from Acton, Capt. Faulkuer 



having been promoted to be Major; lived ou Bright place ; Captain in 
the war ; a good officer ; Jonas Hunt ; John Hunt, his brother, on Coffin 
place; Paul Hunt, son of Simon; Nathan Hunt, son of Capt. Simon ; 
Simon Hunt, Jr., son of Capt. Simon; Oliver Houghton, Jonas Heald, 
Israel Heald, Titus Law, Thomas Law, Stephen Law, Stephen Law, Jr., 
John Litchfield, John Lampson ; Aaron Jones, father to Capt. Abel ; 
Oliver Jones, Samuel Jones, Jonas Munroe, Nathan Marsh, Thomas 
Noyes (Lieut.), Josiah Noyes, John Oliver, Abel Proctor; Samuel Piper, 
at Ticonderoga in 1770; Samuel Parlin, Asa Parlin, Esq., Nathan Parlin, 
Josiah Parker, Jonas Parker, John Prescott; Benj. Prescott, Jos.Robbins, 
Captain of East Company, lived near old graveyard ; Joseph Bobbins 2d, 
also Captain ; George Bobbins, John Robbing, John Robbing, Jr., Jona- 
than Robbins, Philip Robbins, Robert Robbins, Ephraim Robbing, 
James Russell (Captain in the French War), Amos Russell, Moses 
Richardson, Jonas Shepherd, James Shurland ; Samuel Temple, served 
during tho war, a very good soldier, died 1826, aged 74 ; Samuel Tuttle ; 
Simon Tuttle, Esq., Francis' grandfather; Eleazer Sawtell ; Edward 
Wetherbee, Edward's father, gave the alarm up to Simon Tuttle's road 
to Littleton ; was at the taking of Bnrgoyne; Oliver Wetherbee, Ammi 
Wetherbee, Roger Wheeler, Thomas Wheeler, Sampson Wheeler, Ezra 
Wheeler, Hezekiah Wheeler, John Proctor Wheeler, Oliver Wheeler, 
Timothy Wheeler, Samuel Wheeler, Jude Wheeler, John Wheeler, 
Daniel White, Mark White, Ebenezer White, Moses Woods, Abraham 
Young, Samuel Wright, John Willey, Lemuel Whitney, Nehemiah 
Wheeler. 

The list is, no doubt, incomplete. Probably forty or fifty more names 
ought to be added; here are one hundred and eighty-one. 

James T. Woodbury. 

Supplies were furnished for the army as needed 
and called for. 

Revolution Items. — Samuel Hosmer, father of Dea- 
con Silas, was in the Eevolution. He went down to 
Rhode Island, lived upon horse flesh and berries. 
He was a born fisherman. 

Ezekiel Davis, a soldier of the Revolution, brother 
of Captain Isaac Davis, in his company. Wounded 
in the hat at the Concord fight. Died February 
15, 1820, aged sixty-eight. 

John Cole, captain in Colonel Robinson's regiment ; 
served in Rhode Island from July, 1777, to January 
1, 1778. 

Simon Hunt, captain in Third Regiment Militia. 

Benjamin Brabrook, second lieutenant ; died Jan- 
uary 14, 1827, eighty-five years, six months. 

Thomas B. Darby, killed at battle of White Plains, 
1776. 

Fifteen Acton men were in that battle. 

East Acton Company : Captain, Joseph Robbins; 
Israel Heald, first lieutenant ; Robert Chaffin, second 
lieutenant. 

Littleton, February 19, 1776. — Jonathan Fletcher 
was a minute-man at Lexington, April 19, 1775. He 
enlisted in Captain Abijah Wyman's company, Wil- 
liam Prescott's regiment. He was at the battle of 
Bunker Hill, at which Colonel Prescott's regiment suf- 
fered such severe loss of life. At the siege of Boston, 
on Winter Hill, January, 1776, as fifer from Acton. 
He was lieutenant and captain until the close of the 
war — five years. Eighteen years old when enlisted. 
Son of Major Daniel. 

Colonel Francis Faulkner and Captain Simon Hunt 
were in the battle of White Plains, Colonel Eleazer 
Brooks' regiment; behaved finely on this occasion. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson's Address. — At the second 
centennial anniversary of the incorporation of*the 



264 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



town of Concord, September 12, 1835, ten of the sur- 
viving veterans who were in arms at the Bridge on 
the 19th of April, 1775, honored the festival with 
their presence ; four of the ten were from Acton — 
Thomas Thorp, Solomon Smith, John Oliver, Aaron 
Jones. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the orator of that 
day, thus speaks of these men : 

" The presence of these aged men, who were in 
arms on that day, seems to bring us nearer to it. The 
benignant Providence which has prolonged their 
lives to this hour, gratifies the strong curiosity of the 
new generation. The Pilgrims are gone ; but we 
see what manner of persons they were who stood in 
the worst perils of the Revolution. We hold by the 
hand the last of the invincible men of old, and con- 
firm from living lips the sealed records of time. And 
you, my fathers, whom God and the history of your 
country have ennobled, may well bear a chief part 
in keeping this peaceful birthday of our town. You 
are indeed extraordinary heroes. If ever men in 
arms had a spotless cause, you had. You have fought 
a good fight. And having quit you like men in the 
battle, you have quit yourselves like men in your vir- 
tuous families, in your corn-fields, and in society. 

" We will not hide your honorable gray hairs under 
perishing laurel leaves, but the eye of affection and 
veneration follows you. You are set apart, and for- 
ever, for the esteem and gratitude of the human race. 
To you belongs a better badge than stars and ribbons. 
This prospering country is your ornament, and this 
expanding nation is multiplying your praise with 
millions of tongues." 

The French and Indian War. — Acton has pre- 
served its record as a gunpowder settlement from the 
start. Before its separate organization as a town, 
during the Colonial period, there are proofs which 
show its preparations for self-defence, in case of at- 
tack from the Indians or any other foes. After that 
date the town records show the same. March 21, 1744, 
the town voted to procure powder and bullets as a 
town stock. At a later date the town voted to re- 
plenish the stock of ammunition. 

The town had an important part in " the French 
and Indian War," 1750-63. 

There is a tradition that Captain Gershom Davis 
led out a company from Acton in 1759, and that 
Captain J. Robbins led another company four years 
later near the close of the war. 

Major Daniel Fletcher was born within the present 
territorial limits of Acton, October 18, 1718. He was 
a lieutenant in Captain David Melvin's company from 
March to September in 1747, and was stationed at 
Northfield. He was a captain of a company of foot 
in his Majesty's Service, in a regiment raised by the 
Province of Massachusetts Bay for the reduction of 
Canada, whereof Kbenezer Nichols, Esq., was colonel, 
in which expedition he was wounded and taken pris- 
oner. Enlisted as captain March 13, 1758, to No- 
vember 28, 1858. He was captain in Colonel F rye's 



regiment, and in the service in the Province of Nova 
Scotia, after the 1st of January, 1760, and at the time 
of their discharge. 

In 1768 he was a member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives of His Majesty's Province of the Massa- 
chusetts Bay in New England. On June 26, 
1776, he was elected by ballot by the Massachusetts 
Assembly, major for the Third Battalion destined to 
Canada. He died in the fifty-ninth year of his age. 
See his epitaph in the record of Woodlawn Cemetery. 
He had nine children, all born in Acton, — Daniel, 
Charles (died young), Peter, Sarah, Ruth, Joseph, 
Charles, Jonathan. His oldest son, Daniel, married 
Ann Bacon, of Acton, September 11, 1760. They had 
one child, Ann, born November 12, 1769, married May 
27, 1788, to James Law. Peter married Martha 
Farrar, of Acton, and they had several children. Ruth 
married Joseph Barker, and they had several children. 
Joseph married Abigail Bacon, of Lincoln, Massachu- 
setts. 

The Second Meeting-House. — The town had 
much difficulty in locating this house. At one time 
they voted to build at the junction of the road lead- 
ing from West Acton with the road leading from En- 
sign Josiah Noyes to Moses Richardson, near a flat 
rock at that point, supposed to be the one lying east 
of the Puddle hole, on Joseph Reed's land, and west 
of Francis Barker's, now occupied by Mr. Maurice 
Lane. 

This vote was afterwards reconsidered, and they 
finally left it to a committee to decide, consisting of 
Joseph B. Varnum, of Dracut, John Whitney, of 
Lancaster, and Walter McFarland, of Hopkington. 
The committee decided that the house ought to stand 
upon the site now occupied by the present town- 
house. 

Their report was accepted by a vote of 73 to 59. 
After the house was located it was thought best to 
have it face a Common, and for this purpose the fol- 
lowing purchases of land were made: Of Deacon 
Joseph Brabrook, 25 rods at $200 per acre, $31.40; of 
John White, a little over an acre, Mr. White to re- 
move his house and fruit trees, $460; of Paul Brooks, 
one-half acre and 27 rods, $80.40. In addition to 
these the following gifts of land were made to the 
town : By James Fletcher, father of Deacon John, 
9 rods ; Samuel and James Jones, 1 acre and 27 rods. 
The town seems to have been especially indebted to 
him for its Common. He was a prominent man at 
that time and represented the town in the General 
Court that year, and he was doubtless a moving spirit 
in the matter. He was a lawyer, and had an office 
in the north end of the house lately occupied by A. 
L. Noyes, of the Monument House. He built and 
resided in the house now the home of Rev. F. P. 
Wood. He constructed a turnpike over the hill by 
his house upon the elevation of land over which it 
passed, but he became financially embarrassed and 
left for New Orleans to escape imprisonment for debt. 




THE SECOND MEETING 



HOUSE. 



1807. 



ACTON. 



265 



In connection with the building of the second 
meeting-house was the following vote : — " At a meet- 
ing, November 3, 1806, it was propounded whether 
the committee shall at the sale of the pews give the 
people any spirituous liquors at the expense of the 
town — passed in the negative." This prohibition 
idea seems to be no new notion in the histoiy of the 
town : 

"September 4, 1812. 

"iToknow if the town will provide any refreshments for the companies 
in this town on muster day, and pass any vote or votes the town may 
think proper upon the above article. 

11 Voted to provide some refreshments for the companies on muster day. 

"Voted to raise forty-six dollars. 

"Voted to choose a com. to provide the following: 200 w. beef; 50 P. 
0. cheese ; li bushel of meal made into bread ; 2 D. O. pottatoes ; 200 
pickles; 10 gallons of W.I. Bum." 

This muster was to be on Acton Common, Septem- 
ber 1, 1806. The town voted to choose a committee 
of five persons to make a draft of such a meeting- 
house as they shall think proper for the accommoda- 
tion of the inhabitants, and report to the town at that 
next meeting. Voted to choose said committee by 
ballot. The following persons were elected for the 
purpose : Aaron Jones, David Barnard, Winthrop 
Faulkner, Phineas Wheeler, Captain David Davis. 
The dimensions of the building subsequently reported 
by this committee were fifty -seven feet long and fifty- 
five wide, with a projection of fifteen feet in front. 
Voted, to accept and build the meeting-house as re- 
ported. Voted, to build the year ensuing and have 
said house finished January 1, 1808. Voted, that the 
committee who drafted the plan be the committee to 
have charge of the building. 

It was for the times a generous appropriation, and 
the structure was successfully completed and was 
universally admired as a model in its design. It had 
an elevated tower for the belfry and above the belfry 
another ornamental circular story, supported by high 
posts, with a circular and graceful roof, rising from 
whose centre projected the elevated iron shaft for the 
support of the vane. 

The internal arrangements were in harmony — a 
spacious vestibule, with three doors from the outside 
and the same from within ; square pews, with rising 
seats ; an elevated pulpit, approached by long, wind- 
ing steps on either side ; a gallery, high and ranging 
on three sides, curving in front ; a ceiling, high and 
arched overhead. 

The artistic effect from within on the Sabbath, 
when the whole town was supposed to be present, 
and the great choir joined with the pastor in giving 
effect to the service in prayer and song, and all the 
congregation stood with reverent mien, was impres- 
sive to any one participating. The Sabbath in those 
days had an interest, civil, social and religious, be- 
yond the ordinary rountine of later dates. 

The sacrifices made in constructing this costly 
temple intensified the appreciation by the people 
of its beauty and its uses. There was timber enough 
in this building to construct a good-sized village, 



spread lightly around according to modern style. It 
was of the best quality and furnished in lavish abund- 
ance. 

The first bell, which was mounted high up in the 
tower, cost $570, and when it swung out its peals on 
Sabbath morn it was a missive to all the households 
in the town. It meant business as well as worship 
to get all things in readiness and reach the steps of 
the church before the last stroke of the tolling bell. 

There must have been at one time at least thirty 
horse-sheds ranged in lines in the rear of the build- 
ing and giving an impressive outlook to its surround- 
ings, especially on the Sabbath and town-meeting 
days, when they would all be occupied. 

John C. Park, Esq., grandson of Parson Adams, 
writes to Hon. John Fletcher from Boston, February 
6, 1874, acknowledging the receipt of the Acton Moni- 
tor: "Some of the happiest days of my childhood 
were spent at Acton, and many pleasant memories 
are revived. I must come and see for myself, for I 
cannot realize the burning of gas in a village where 
I helped my grandmother and aunt to make ' dips.' 
Speaking of Hosmer, one of my earliest recollections 
is my childish admiration of the great 'H,' a silver- 
plated letter on the back of the chaire which brought 
Deacon Hosmer to meeting. Do you remember it? 
Do you remember how we used to turn up the seats 
for prayer in the old church, and the clatter it made 
letting them down at the close, and how one naughty 
little boy (John C. Park) used to keep his to the 
last?" 

Persons connected with this church so far as ob- 
tained: Deacons: Simon Hunt, Benjamin Hay ward, 
Josiah Noyes, John Wheeler, John White, Phinehas 
Wheeler, Daniel Fletcher Barker, Silas Hosmer, 
John White 2d. 

Pew-holders (left body pews) : Mrs. Simeon" Hay- 
ward, David Barnard, Esq., Stevens Hayward, Esq., 
Deacon John White, Luther Conant. 

Right body pews : Simon Hosmer, Esq., Silas 
Holden, Levi Waitt, Deacon Benjamin Hayward, 
Seth Brooks. 

Choristers : Winthrop Faulkner, Silas Jones, 
Luther B. Jones, Daniel Jones. 

Players on musical instruments : Bass viol, Jona- 
than Billing, Abraham B. Handley ; double bass viol, 
Eben Davis ; violin, Winthrop E. Faulkner, Henry 
Skinner ; clarionet, Elnathan Jones, Samuel Hosmer. 

Singers : Polly Davis, Ellen Jones, Lucy J. Jones, 

Abigail Jones, Jerusha Brooks, Ann Piper, Captain 

Abel Jones, Simon Davis, Seth Davis, Benjamin 

Wild, Amasa Wild, Edward Wetherbee, Oliver Weth- 

... * 
erbee, Jedidiah Tuttle, Rebecca Davis, Susan Davis, 

Catharine Wetherbee, Lucinda Wetherbee, Polly 
Wetherbee, Susan Piper, Lucinda Piper, Mary Faulk- 
ner, Charlotte Faulkner, Catharine Faulkner, Susan 
Faulkner, Clarissa Jones, Amasa Davis. Jessie Pierce, 
Uriah Foster, Alden Fuller, Jonathan Piper, Dr. 
Harris Cowdry. 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



266 



Rev. Mr. Adams, the second minister, enjoyed 
the advantages of this spacious and elegant church 
during the last eleven years of his pastorate and of 
his life ; Rev. Mr. Shedd during the eleven years of 
his pastorate. The huilding stood for over fifty years 
as an attractive centre for civil and religious uses. 
By the decision of the courts the building came into 
the possession of the First Parish, and this parish 
deeded it to the town June 4, 1859. 

In the great fire of November, 1862, which took in 
the barn of the hotel and which consumed the hotel, 
the tailor's shop building, occupied by Samuel Des- 
pean as a tailor-shop and by Daniel Jones as a store, 
the shoe factory of John Fletcher & Sons, and 
threatened at one time the whole village ; a blazing 
shingle was wafted on high across the Common and 
struck the highest roof of the church tower, became 
fixed and soon ignited the steeple. The people below 
stood helpless and appalled, as nothing could be done 
to stay the raging flames. The whole building with 
all its massive timbers were in one brief hour a heap 
of smouldering ashes. This earthly structure went 
up as in a chariot of fire and was translated to the 
third heavens by the order of Him to whom it was 
originally dedicated. The building has gone, but its 
memories of pastor and choir and congregation abide. 

William D. Tuttle. — The time when the very 
first settlements were made on the present territory 
of Acton is a matter of some uncertainty. It is evi- 
dent from the town records that the town was pretty 
well settled over at the date of its incorporation. 
People were living in all parts of it at that time. 
The Indians had withdrawn to other hunting-grounds, 
and had ceased to be a cause of fear or annoyance. 

The first public enterprise was the building of a 
meeting-house for public worship, being one of the 
conditions of the act of incorporation, and the next 
was to construct roads by which the people could get 
to it. 

These were little more than bridle-paths cut through 
the forest from one homestead to another and con- 
necting them all more or less directly with the meet- 
ing-house and the mills. That it was the day of 
humble beginning and of many privations and hard- 
ships we can well believe. 

For lack of bridges, streams were crossed at what 
were called ford-ways. Forests were to be felled, 
houses to be erected, fences to be built, which required 
the strong arms of a sturdy race of men. Life was 
real and earnest to the men and women of that time. 
If their home life was barren of many of the luxuries 
and conveniences of modern days, there was in it a 
large element of downright sincerity, hearty good 
cheer and mutual helpfulness. 

The church was then the centre of the social as 
well as the religious life of the people. It must have 
been an interesting sight to see the people on Sunday 
coming up from all parts of the town on horseback or 
on foot, for carriages, whether spring or otherwise. 



were not yet, to attend divine service at the ancient 
church. 

It was here that neighborly courtesies were exercised, 
mutual acquaintances and friendship formed, many 
of which developed in after years into more intimate 
relations. The town-meeting — that nursery of states- 
men — was also another of the educators of those days. 
Four or five times in a year did the inhabitants come 
together as a body to discuss their local affairs, to 
choose their town officers and to make regulations for 
their mutual welfare. If any one had a grievance, if 
his taxes pressed too heavily, if his accommodations 
in the way of roads were insufficient — whatever 
might be the cause of his complaint, here was a trib- 
unal of his peers, where he could be heard and where 
justice was usually done. 

From its first settlement to the present time Acton 
has been mainly an agricultural town. The first set- 
tlers depended for their livelihood on what they could 
get from the soil and from what grew above it. They 
had cattle, horses, sheep and hogs, the latter being 
permitted for many years to run at large and pick up 
their living in the woods. 

Their agriculture was a varied one; money was 
scarce and hard to get. Everything that could con- 
tribute to the support and sustenance of a family was 
included in the farmer's course of husbandry. Wool, 
flax, Indian corn, rye, oats, beans, turnips, beef, pork 
and the products of the dairy were the principal 
products raised. Clothing was largely of home man- 
ufacture and the noise of the spinning-wheel and 
loom was heard in every well-appointed household. 

They had plenty of apples, all natural fruit (the 
finer varieties being of later introduction), and nearly 
all the large farms had a cider-mill, which was kept 
busy during the months of October and November in 
producing a beverage all too common in those days. 

From a census return made in 1790, it appears that 
no large number of cattle and horses was kept com- 
pared with what is usual at present, and but little 
English hay cut; the natural meadows being relied 
upon to a great extent for the supply of hay for stock. 

Coming down to a later time, to the year 1800, a 
period of sixty-five years, we find the town's people 
in comparatively easy circumstances. Many had ac- 
cumulated a fair estate for those times. More pre- 
tentious houses were erected and an era of general 
prosperity seems to have dawned. 

In 1807 the town built the second meeting-house at 
an expense of nearly or quite §10,000, paid for by the 
sale of pews and a town tax of $1151, all of which 
was accomplished without apparent difficulty. 

The manufacture of bellows was carried on exten- 
sively by Ebenezer Davis, senior and junior, for many 
years in the east part of the town. 

A large and well-appointed flour and grain mill 
was erected on an ancient mill site by Daniel Weth- 
erbee, in 1840, which, under the management of him- 
self and son, has continued to the present time. 



ACTON. 



267 



The pencil manufactory of Henry M. Smith, East 
Acton, was built in 1848, by Ebenezer Davis, Esq., 
and has been occupied successively since that time by 
Benjamin Davis, sash and blind manufactory ; by 
William Schouler, print works; by A. G. Fay as 
pencil manufactory, and by its present occupant also 
in the manufacture of lead-pencils. 

Among the various industries pursued for many 
years in the early part of the century, was the coop- 
ering business, from fifteen to twenty thousand bar- 
rels annually having been manufactured. The little 
cooper-shops, so numerous in all parts of the town, in 
which many of the inhabitants found employment in 
the winter season, is conclusive proof that the busi- 
ness was a source of very considerable income. 

The indenture of Gill Piper March 25, 1790, copied 
from the town papers is here inserted as a specimen of 
the times and the business then popular. 

The Indenture of Gill Piper. 

March 25, 1790. 

This indenture witmssetli. That Francis Faulkner, Aaron Jones and 
Jonas Heald, Selectmen of the town of Acton, Mass , Middlesex Co., 
put and bind (Jill Piper, a minor, now under the care of the Selectmen 
aforesaid, unto Paul Hunt, and Betsey, his wife, to Lame the Cooper's 
trade ; after the manner of an apprentice to dwell and serve from the 
date hereof until he, the said Gill Piper, shall arrive to the age of 21 
years; during all which term the said Gill, his said Master and Mistress 
worthily and faithfully shall serve, their secrets keep close, their Lawful 
and reasonable commands Readily obey and perform ; damage to his 
said Master and Mistress he shall not do, or suffer to be done by others 
without informing his said Master or Mistress of the same ; tavern he 
shall not frequent ; at cards, dice, or any other unlawful game he shall 
not play ; matrimony he shall uot contract, or fornication commit with 
any person ; but in all things behave himself as a good and faithful ap- 
prentice until his fulfilment of his years or term above mentioned ; and 
the said Paul Hunt, for himself and his heirs, do covenant, promise and 
agree with the said Francis Faulkner, Aaron Jones, and Jonas Heald, 
selectmen of the said town of Acton, and their successors in said trust, 
in this manner following, that is to say, that said Paul Hunt will teach 
or cause to be taught the said Gill Piper to read and write and cipher 
(if capable to learn) by giving him one month's schooling in each of the 
first two years of his service and one month in the last two years of his 
service, and will find and provide for the same Gill Piper good and suffi- 
cient meat, drink, washing and lodging, and also sufficient apparel suit- 
able for one of his degree and calling, during the said term, and at the 
end of said term to dismiss the said Gill Piper w ith two good suits of 
Apparel, one suitable for Sabbath days, the other for working days. 
In witness whereof, the parties set their hands and seals to this indent- 
ure, the 22d day of March, 1790. 

(Signed) Paul Hunt. 

Francis Faulkner. 

Aaron Jones. 

Jonas Heald 
Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of 

Joseph Baker, Jr., 

Job F. Brooks. 

Middlesex, ss : 

March ye 2.5th, 1790. 
The above indenture considered and approved of by 

Silas Taylor, 
Francis Faulkner, 
two Justices of Peace. 

Gill Piper has not been heard from since so far as 
the town records go. We may infer with this start in 
life, that he became a worthy citizen. Nothing to 
the contrary has come to eye or ear. 

Many hop kilns were erected, but in a few years the 
prices received were so fluctuating and unsatisfactory 
as to deter many from embarking in it and the busi- 



ness at length became so unremunerative that their 
culture was abandoned altogether. 

Centre Village. — Previous to the time of the 
building of the second meeting-house there was no 
considerable village in the town. There were at that 
time a very few dwelling houses in the Centre, proba- 
bly not more than a scant half-dozen in all. At this 
time there was, beside the first meeting-house, the old 
tavern, kept by Daniel Brooks, his widow Caroline 
and his son Paul, and afterwards occupied by Nathan- 
iel Stearns ; the well-known parsonage built by Moses 
Adams, sometimes called the Bullard place; the 
house of Benjamin Brabrook, situated a little easterly 
from the residence of Edward Tuttle; the house of 
John White, blacksmith, a little westerly of the pres- 
ent town-house; a cottage-house, where Francis Hos- 
mer now lives, and one where Eddie F. Conant resides. 

The building of the second meeting-house gave an 
impetus to building operations in this village; and 
about this time, 1807, the tavern first occupied by 
Henry Durant, afterward by Silas Jones, for many 
years and others later, was built, as also the house 
now occupied by T. F. Noyes ; L. B. Jones' house 
now occupied by Rev. F. P. Wood ; one on the site ot 
that occupied by William D. Tuttle; one by John 
and James Fletcher, lately removed to make room for 
the Memorial Library. The house so long occupied 
by Stephen Weston, now occupied by John F. Davis, 
and the Cyrus Dole house now occupied by J. E. 
Cutter and the Edward Tuttle hou*e. 

The large mansion west of the town-house, long 
the residence of Hon. Stevens Hayward, was built 
about this time by Doctor Peter Goodknow. A store 
was kept on the site of the library building by James 
and John Fletcher, which was burnt. At a later date 
the store now occupied by M. E. Taylor, was built 
and kept by Joseph W. Tuttle, Francis Tuttle, James 
Tuttle, Rufus Holden, Daniel Jones, J. E. Cutter and 
many others, almost continuously to the present time. 
Samuel Jones, Esq., had a law-office for a short time 
where the house of A. L. Noyes stands. Samuel 
Jones, Sr., married the widow of Captain Isaac Davis, 
and resided on the place now occupied by Rev. F. P. 
Wood. To his public spirit we are largely indebted 
for Acton's beautiful Common. 

In 180G the town bought of Captain Paul Brooks 
107 square rods of land at the east end of the Com- 
mon, and in 1807, of John White 154 rods, northerly 
and westerly of the second meeting-house. 

In 1806 Samuel Jones, Esq., in consideration of the 
good-will and respect be had for the inhabitants of 
Acton, deeded to the town about one and a quarter 
acres of land extending along the south side of the 
present Common, from near the house of A. L. Noyes 
to the house of Luke Smith, to be used as a town- 
common. The town also purchased of Joseph Bra- 
brook thirty-one rods of land in 1808, on the north- 
erly side of the Common, extending from the Robert 
Chaffin place to the town-house. 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



At this time there were not so many houses where 
the thriving villages of West and South Acton now 
stand. The latter was universally called Mill Corner, 
and had three dwelling-houses within a radius of a 
quarter of a mile, the Ammiruhamah Faulkner 
House, the tavern and store owned and occupied by 
Samuel Jones and his son Captain Aaron, the cot- 
tage-house, nestled under the hill owned by Captain 
Abel Jones, a son of Aaron ; and the mills consisting 
of a saw and grist-mill and a fulling-mill, where cloth 
was dressed and fulled. Many now living can re- 
member the time when these, with a few out-buildings, 
were all that made up the village of Mill Corner. 

Where the enterprising village of West Acton now 
stands there was less in the way of building and busi- 
ness. Bradley Stone built the brick house on the 
corner in the centre of the village. He estab- 
lished a blacksmith and wheelwright-shop, near 
where the house of Yarnum B. Mead now stands, and 
carried on the business for some years. He also 
built the first store in West Acton, which was first 
opened by Sidney and Henry Bull, and afterwards 
kept by Burbeck & Tenney. 

The building of the Fitchburg Railroad, in 1844, 
marks an important era in the history of the town. 
Entering the limits of the town at the southeast 
corner and passing westerly and northerly through 
the south and west parts of the town, a sudden 
impetus was given to the growth of these villages, 
which has continued ever since. 

Before this time a communication with our com- 
mercial metropolis, Boston, was slow and difficult. The 
country trader's merchandise had to be hauled by 
means of ox or horse-teams from the city. Lines of 
stage-coaches indeed radiated in all directions from 
the city for the conveyanceof passengers, but so much 
time was consumed in going and returning by this 
conveyance that a stop over night was absolutely 
necessary if any business was to be done. 

Instead of being whirled rapidly in an hour's time 
or less into Boston, and having ample time for the 
transaction of business and returning at night with 
equal ease and rapidity to our homes, a visit to 
Boston before the era of the railroad was something to 
be planned as a matter of serious concern. All the 
internal commerce between city and country necessi- 
tated stage-coaches and teams of every description, 
and on all the main lines of road might be seen long 
lines of four and eight-horse teams conveying mer- 
chandise to and from the city. 

As a matter of necessity, taverns and hostelries 
were numerous and generally well patronized. Thus 
in the east part of Acton, on the road leading from 
Boston to Keene, there were no less than four or five 
houses of public entertainment. With the advent of 
railroads all this changed. The Fitchburg Railroad was 
completed to West Acton in the autumn of 1844, and 
that village became a distributing point for the deliv- 
ery of goods destined for more remote poiuts above. 



Two names may be mentioned in connection with 
the location of this road through the limits of this 
town, — Colonel Winthrop E. Faulkner, of South 
Acton, and Bradley Stone, of West Acton. 

Public-spirited and powerfully impressed with the 
importance of securing the location of the road 
through their respective villages, they labored untir- 
ingly until this was secured, positively and beyond a 
doubt. No personal effort was spared and no obstacle 
was suffered to stand in the way. until the coveted 
end was gained. Who will- say that their ambition 
was not a worthy one, and has not been amptly justi- 
fied? 

The April meeting warrant for 1840 contained this 
article : " To see if the town will take measures to 
have trees set out on the Common." On this article 
the town granted leave to set trees on the Common, 
and chose a committee of seven to say where ihey 
shall be placed. Francis Tuttle, John Fletcher, 
Winthrop E. Faulkner, John White, Nathan Brooks, 
Simon Tuttle and Rufus Holden were appointed as 
this committee. 

The said trees were to consist of rock maple, button- 
wood, elm and white ash. As the result of this ac- 
tion of the town, the committee extended a general 
invitation to all the inhabitants to bring in suitable 
trees for transplanting, of the kinds mentioned, on the 
19th of April. As the 19th came on Sunday that 
year, the trees were set on the following day under 
the direction of the committee. The people responded 
nobly, and from all parts of the town the citizens 
came into the village on the morning of the 20th 
loaded with trees ; nearly all lived and grew well. 
Most of the rock maples were set out at a later date, 
1859. 

Our notice of the village of the Centre would be 
incomplete without the mention of the name of one 
prominent in the business history of the town for 
years. John Fletcher, at first a country trader in a 
small way, began the manufacture of boots and shoes 
in 1815. Finding a ready sale for his goods, he con- 
tinued to enlarge his manufacturing facilities until his 
boots and shoes were well and creditably known far 
and wide. He associated his two sons, John and Ed- 
win, with him under the firm-name of John Fletcher 
& Sons. The firm did a successful business for many 
years. 

The Great Fire. — In the evening of Oct. 24, 
1862, occurred the greatest fire Acton has ever known. 
Beginning at the stable near the hotel, the shoe man- 
ufactory of John Fletcher & Sons, the hotel, and 
store occupied by Daniel Jones, and finally the town 
hall, formerly the meeting-house, built in 1807, all 
were in a short time consumed. 

The incendiary had done his work but too well, and 
had left, as he had threatened, a black mark in the 
Centre Village. Looking over the scene of desolation, 
it seemed as though the place was doomed to extinc- 
' tion. Good friends, however, came to the rescue. In 



ACTON. 



269 



the November warrant for town-meeting an article 
was inserted to see what action the town will take in 
regard to building a new town-house. At this meet- 
ing it was voted to choose a committee of six persons, 
one from each school district, to obtain plans, specifi- 
cations and estimates to report at a future meeting. 

On Tuesday, the 2d day of December, another meet- 
ing was called to hear the report of the committee. At 
this meeting it was voted not to build a town-house. 
Another meeting was called on the 15th of the same 
month. In the warrant was inserted the following : 
" To see if the town will build a house suitable for a 
town hall and armory for the Davis Guards." 

At this meeting it was voted that when the town 
build a town-house it be built on the spot where the 
old one stood. Also voted to choose a committee of 
seven, by ballot, with full powers to build a town-house 
with an armory in it suitable for the town within the 
next twelve months. This committee consisted of 
Daniel Wetherbee, Samuel Hosmer, James Tuttle, 
Cyrus Fletcher, David M. Handley, Artemas M. 
Rowell and Luther Conact. 

This was erected the next year, as also the large 
shoe manufactory of John Fletcher and a new hotel 
by John E. Cutter. Thus, in a measure, was replaced 
Acton's great loss by fire. 

Among other noted residents of the village for 
many years was Jonas Blodgett, blacksmith and auc- 
tioneer. He came to Acton about the year 1830, and 
carried on his trade until failing health and eyesight 
obliged him to retire. 

West Acton. 1 — The brick house on the corner 
was built by Bradley Stone. He also built the first 
store at the corner in 1837, where Mead Brothers are 
now, occupied formerly by Burbeck & Tenney, then 
Sidney and Henry Bull. 

In 1858 Charles Robinson moved that building to 
where it now stands, occupied by George Conant, 
bluine manufactory, and built the present store. The 
hall now used by Isaac Davis' Grand Army Post was 
built by Mr. Robinson for the use of the Universalist 
Society, and was used by it for ten years. 

The first meat market was opened by John R. 
Houghton under the tin-shop of L. M. Holt, and was 
occupied by him until he built his present market. 
A blacksmith-shop was built by Bradley Stone where 
the house of V. B. Mead now stands. When this was 
burned he built a new shop near the site of the old 
one, and where it now stands, occupied by Samuel A. 
Guilford. The shop was run for awhile by Enoch 
Hall, who in 1865 transformed a barn standing near 
it into the present wheelwright-shop of Herbert F. 
Clark. 

The New England Vise Company in 1868 erected a 
building for its business which proved unsuccessful. 
The Butter and Cheese Factory Company was incor- 
porated about 1873, and ran three or four years. 



1 Items furnished by A. A. Wymau, Esq. 



This venture proved unprofitable, and the building 
erected for the company is now occupied by William 
H. Lawrence, blacksmith, and Waldo Littlefield, car- 
riage manufacturer. 

A part of the ground^ now occupied by the refriger- 
ator and apple-house of A. & 0. Mead & Co. was a 
building put up by the West Acton Steam Mill Com- 
pany in 1848, which was burned in 1852, and, as the 
business had not been satisfactory, was not rebuilt. 
The building for the manufacture of overalls and 
clothing was put up by Charles H. Taylor in 1886. 

Soon after the railroad was built through West 
Acton a tin-shop was built by Henderson Rowell, 
who occupied it until his death, in 1860. Since then 
it has been carried on by various persons in the same 
place, and is now run by Lorenzo M. Holt, who does 
a large and increasing business. 

About 1858 a shoemaker's-shop was built, and was 
occupied by Oliver C. Wyman until his death, in 
1885. The business since then has been carried on 
by William Mott. 

In 1845 Shepley & Davis built a house, which was 
occupied by a Mr. Page and called Page's Tavern. 
After a few years it was purchased by Adelbert and 
Oliver Mead, and reoccupied by them for a dwelling- 
house a number of years. Since then it has been oc- 
cupied by various tenants. 

In 1848 Dr. Reuben Green opened an office. In 
1852 he was bought out by Dr. Isaiah Hutchins, who 
still occupies the building erected by Dr. Green. In 
1848 a post-office was opened in Dr. Green's office, in 
which building it remained until Dr. Hutchins, in 
1854, resigned, whereupon it was transferred to the 
store, where it remained until the Cleveland adminis- 
tration, when Hanson Littlefield became postmaster, 
and the office was removed to his store. In 1889 
Charles B. Stone, the present incumbent, was reap- 
pointed, and removed the office to the room specially 
built for it. 

The grain and grist-mill and cider-mill of E. C. 
Parker & Co. was built in 1868, burned in 1869 and 
rebuilt in 1870. The cigar-factory of Frank R. 
Knowlton was over the store of Hanson Littlefield 
until the new factory was built in 1889. 

Tubs and Pails. — B. F. Taft began the manufacture 
in the building and was succeeded by Samuel Sargent. 
Sargent was succeeded by Enoch Hall, who, with his 
sons, now carry on the business. The business has 
become an important source of thrift. It was started 
seventeen years ago and has been steadily increasing. 

The lumbering business has been introduced and 
enlarged ; wood lots and farms have been bought in 
the neighboring towns with reference to the lumber 
supply. Tubs, churns and pails are manufactured in 
large quantities and sent for market in all directions, 
as far as Australia, South America, California and 
Europe. Twenty-five men are employed through the 
year, with extra help in the winter. Estimated aver- 
age sales per year, $50,000. 



270 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



Mrs. John Hapgood, the mother of Mrs. Nash, a 
few weeks before her death, when enjoying unusual 
clearness of mind, though over eighty years old, wrote 
out carefully these items from her own personal recol- 
lections, and the original copj in her handwriting is 
now with the town clerk. The statements have since 
been corroborated by Deacon Samuel Hosmer, over 
eighty-six years old, whose memory is quite clear and 
retentive. 

H. A. Gould's Place. — Deacon Jonathan Hosmer 
was the first settler on the place that is now owned by 
Mr. Gould ; he had four sons — Jonathan, Stephen, 
Abner and Jonas. Abner was the one that fell, April 
19, 1775, at Concord Bridge, with Captain Davis. I 
remember of hearing my aunt Sarah Hosmer, sister 
of N. D. Hosmer and wife of Samuel Hosmer, when 
she was very young, say that her grandfather went 
out to see if he could hear any news on that day, and 
when lie returned he groaned when he passed their 
■window to go into the front door. What sorrow was 
then experienced ! 

Stephen Hosmer, one of the sons of Deacon Jona- 
than Hosmer, settled on the homestead with his 
father (at Gould's place). His sons were three — 
Stephen, Nathan Davis and Jonathan. Nathan 
Davis Hosmer, son of Stephen Hosmer, bought the 
place, the homestead, and built the new house which 
is now occupied by Mr. Gould. 

The old house was pretty large for those days, two 
front rooms with entry between, upright back part 
with two rooms below. The back chanbers were low 
and unfinished. 

Aaron Hosmer, son of Nathan D. Hosmer, had 
made arrangements to keep the place, the homestead, 
as his own ; but he died a few months before his 
father died. If Aaron Hosirfer had lived, the place 
would probably have been in the Hosmer name now, 
which would have been the fourth generation. 

Jonathan Hosmer, son of Deacon Jonathan Hos- 
mer, bought and settled on the place now occupied 
by Mr. Neil, the Simon Hosmer place. It is the first 
house beyond the Kelley place toward Acton Centre. 
He had but one son, Simon Hosmer, Esq. He 
bought the place and lived there most of his lifetime. 
Afterwards it went into other hands. Francis Tut- 
tle owned it at one time. 

Noyes & Barker Place. — Ephraim Hosmer owned 
the farm that is now occupied by Noyes & Barker. 
He was a nephew of Deacon Jonathan Hosmer ; he 
had a number of children, but buried two or three by 
the dreadful disease of malignant sore throat. My 
grandmother, Sarah Davis, wife of Stephen Hosmer, 
said that one of the girls told her she was hungry but 
she could not swallow — a terrible disease to get into a 
family. He had two sons that lived, Joel and Samuel, 
father of Deacon Silas Hosmer. 

Joel kept the home place, but when the turnpike 
was being made, he thought it would be important to 
have a hotel or tavern, as it used to be called, and he 



built the large house for that purpose now owned by 
Joseph Noyes and Joseph Barker; but custom failed, 
it did not meet his expectation, and after a few years 
the farm had to be sold, a very great disappointment 
to him and all of his family. 

Frank Knowlton's Place. — Samuel Hosmer, brother 
to Joel Hosmer and son of Ephraim Hosmer, bought 
the place that Frank Knowlton now owns. He lived 
in a small house, but had quite a large barn. He was 
the father of Deacon Silas Hosmer, who succeeded his 
father on the home farm and built the large two-story 
house since remodeled by F. R. Knowlton, who is 
the husband of Emma, daughter of Deacon Silas 
Hosmer. 

Handley Place. — Mr. John Tuttle owned that place 
in 1800 and was called a very wealthy man. It has 
been owned by many different persons since — Jacob 
Priest, Reuben Handley. 

Isaac Peed's Place. — William Reed was the first 
owner of the farm, living there during his lifetime. 
Then his son William bought and lived there during 
his life. The present owner is his son, Isaac Reed. 

Andrew Hapgood's Place. — It was owned by a widow 
Brooks. Ephraim Hapgood and Nathaniel Hapgood,, 
two brothers, bought it of her, Ephraim keeping the 
old house and Nathaniel building a new one just 
above it. Ephraim Hapgood and Nathaniel Hapgood 
were sons of Ephraim Hapgood. 

Ebenezer Smith's Place. — Mr. Smith bought the farm 
when he was quite a young man (do not remember 
the person); the house was an old one, but they lived 
in it a number of years, then built a new one; it was 
called nice in those days. After his death Edwin 
Parker owned it, living there several years, then sold 
it to the present owner, Amasa Knowlton. 

Ephraim Hapgood's Farm. — Ephraim Hapgood 
thought it would be a good plan to go to Maine and 
take up a large tract of land and settle there, as he had 
several boys. Accordingly, one summer, he went to^ 
see about it. The next summer he took two of his 
sous and went to Maine, to a place called now Nor- 
ridgewock, and worked all summer, intending to take 
his family the next year. 

When the time came for them to start for home 
Ephraim, grandfather of Mrs. Nash, one of the sons, 
said he would walk home instead of going by water, 
and by that means saved his life, for the vessel was 
shipwrecked and the father and son were both drowned. 

Ephraim Hapgood gave up all idea of going to 
Maine after the death of his father and brother, 
bought the home-place, took care of his mother, living 
1 there his lifetime. After his decease his two youngest 
sons, John and Benjamin Franklin, bought the farm,, 
keeping it together several years. Then Benjamin 
F. bought out his brother John and lived there until 
his death. He was killed at the crossing of the Fitch- 
burg Railroad, near Andrew Hapgood. Nathaniel 
Hapgood was also killed at the same time. The farm 
: was afterwards bought by Cyrus Hapgood. He kept 



DEACON SAMUEL HOSMER. 

THE ONLY SURVIVING MEMBER OF THE FIRST CHURCH 
ORGANIZATION IN ACTON. 



ACTON. 



271 



it a few years then sold it to a Mr. Prescott. The 
house was burned not a great while afterwards. The 
land is now owned by individuals — only a small house 
upon it, owned by Mr. Blanchard, for the accommo- 
dation of hired help. 

Simon Blanchard' 's Place. — Abraham Hapgood, 
brother of Ephraim Hapgood, and son of the one that 
was drowned, bought the place and lived there during 
his life. 

James Hapgood, his only son, bought the place, 
keeping it several years, afterwards sold it to Alvin 
Raymond. He kept it a few years, then sold it to Mr. 
Jonathan Fletcher. After his death Simon Blanchard, 
the present owner, bought the place ; married for his 
first wife Elizabeth Fletcher, daughter of Mr. Jona- 
than Fletcher. 

Mr. Hager's Place. — Elias Chaffin lived on this place 
a number of years. The next owner was Jonathan B. 
Davis. He kept it a good many years, then sold it to 
the present owner, Mr. George Hager. 

Leland Place. — It was the home of Captain Stevens 
Hayward, the father of Stevens Hayward, Esq. Mr. 
Hayward living there during his life, then his son 
Stevens owned it many years, afterwards he sold it to 
Benjamin Lentell. He lived there several years and 
sold it to Mr. Leland. 

A. A. Haynes' Place. — It was the home of Deacon 
Benjamin Hayward. He had three sons — Moses, 
Aaron and Luke. Moses was accidentally shot by his 
own son. His home then was the late Cyrus Hay- 
ward's place. Aaron Hayward after the death of his 
father settled on the homestead, but died when quite 
young. 

Alden Fuller Place. — Nathaniel Faulkner in the 
olden time lived there ; he owned the place ; he had 
several sons. Nathaniel kept the home-place and 
lived there during his life. His daughter Sarah mar- 
ried Alden Fuller. He bought the home-place and 
lived there during his life. 

Houghton Place. — Oliver Houghton bought that 
place, living in a very old house for a long time. 
There have been two houses built on that place, the 
low one built first. Levi Houghton succeeded his 
father and built the new house. Since his death 
George H. S. Houghton, a nephew, owns the farm and 
is living on it. 

Mrs. Hapgoods Place was formerly owned by the 
Faulkners. A widow lived here who had three chil- 
dren. The son's name was Moses. There must have 
been two generations before it went into other hands. 
It has been owned by Brown and a Wilson. Daniel 
Wetherby bought it afterwards, then John Hapgood 
bought it. 

Coffin Place. — Deacon John Hunt owned this farm 
for many years, for Mother Hapgood said (Molly Hunt, 
daughter of Deacon J. Hunt) when she was very 
small she remembered the 19th of April, and looked 
out of the window and saw James Hayward walking 
along as fast he could, with gun in his hand. He 



seemed to be in a great hurry. It was the morning 
of the day he was killed in Lexington. Jotham 
Hunt, son of Deacon J. Hunt, became owner of the 
place, lived there many years, then sold it to Porter 
Reed. Afterwards it was owned by George Coffin. 

James Hay ward's Place.— Samuel Hosmer, brother 
of Deacon Silas Hosmer, built that house, occupying 
it several years. Some other families lived there be- 
fore Mr. Hayward bought it. There was a Mr. H«y- 
ward, the father of Jonas Hayward, who died when 
he was a young man. Samuel Hayward owned the 
farm that William Reed owned and lived there during 
his life. It was the place that Joseph Cole carried on 
several years and died there two or three years ago. 

James W. Wheeler Place. — The old house that 
stood near that elm-tree was owned by Samuel Whee- 
ler. His son Nathan succeeded him and still occu- 
pied the old house during his life. James W. Whee- 
ler, his son, after a few years bought the farm and 
built a new house, owned by Octavius Knowlton. 

Elisha Cutler Place. — Deacon John Wheeler, 
brother of Samuel Wheeler, owned this farm, living 
there during his life. Joel Whitcomb owned it awhile. 

Simon Hunt was a brother of Deacon John Hunt, 
and his home was what was called the Bright Piace, 
the next house beyond the late Cyrus Hayward's 
place as you go towards Stowe. 

A. & 0. W. Mead & Co. — The history of this firm 
has such relations to Acton that a brief account of 
its record is here given. 

O. W. Mead was born in Boxboro' Oct. 19, 1824. 
Worked on his father's farm until he was twenty-one 
years of age. His education was limited to the dis- 
trict school until of age. He afterwards attended 
academy in Lunenburg three terms, and taught school 
in Lunenburg and Littleton, one term each. 

At twenty-three years of age he went into the mar- 
keting business with his brother Adelbert, and drove a 
horse team to Boston weekly with all kinds of pro- 
duce. 

He moved to West Acton in 1840, and there con- 
tinued his business with his brother successfully, 
transporting their freight over the Fitchburg Railroad 
to Boston. In 1867 his brother Adelbert, Varnum B. 
and himself leased store No. 35, on North Market St., 
and carried on the produce business under the name 
of A. & 0. W. Mead & Co. Their business has been 
varied and extensive to the present time. 

Their lumbering interests in New Hampshire and 
Maine have been large, in cattle and lands in Iowa, 
Minnesota and Territories considerable. 

They built in West Acton the first refrigerator for 
storing fruit — in this country — which proved very re- 
munerative for many years. 

The first house has been supplanted by several 
larger and more costly buildings. 

The firm has expended large sums of money in 
West Acton in buildings and otherwise, which has 
done much towards the adornment and general pros- 



272 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



perity of the village, and have always taken a lively 
interest in the welfare of the town of their adoption. 

O. W. Mead was an active director in the American 
Powder-Mill for twenty years, has been intrusted with 
the settlement of several estates, three years a direc- 
tor in the Florida Midland Eailroad, been one of the di- 
rectors of the Board of Commerce, is now a director 
of the First National Bank of Ayer, one of the trustees 
of the North Middlesex Savings Bank, also president 
and manager of one of the largest herds of cattle in 
the Territory of Wyoming. 

The business of this firm extends into millions year- 
ly. 

Their father's name was Nathaniel ; their grand- 
father Deacon Oliver Mead. Their mother was Lucy 
Taylor, daughter of Capt. Oliver Taylor. 

Luke Blanchard — He was born in Boxboro' Jan. 17, 
182(5, and lived there until he was twenty-four years 
of age. 

He was the son of Simon, and moved into Acton in 
1852. He married Jerusha M. Yose April 8, 1858, 
and had the following children : Mary Florence, 
born Aug. 8, 1859, died in two years and four months ; 
Anna Maria, born Oct. 7, 1862 ; Arthur F., born 
Jan. 21, 1864 ; Mary Alice, born Dec. 21, 1867, died 
Feb. 2, 1889. 

He has been a prosperous businessman, accumulat- 
ing successfully through his own exertions. His bus- 
iness has been largely marketing and trading. His 
property is distributed in several towns, but his chief 
local interest has been for several years in West 
Acton. 

He is grandson of Calvin Blanchard, who was at 
Bunker Hill, and helped build the breastworks pre- 
paratory to the fight, and was at the Concord fight 
April 19th. 

He is the grandnephew of Luther Blanchard, who 
was the fifer at the Concord fight — in Capt. Davis' 
company — and a brother to Simon, grandson of Calvin. 

Historical Map of Acton. 1 — Old road from 
Capt. Davis' house to 1st Meeting-House : 

Capt. Isaac Davis, 1775 ; Joseph Brown, 1S13 ; Ward S. Haskell, Na- 
thaniel G. Brown, 1825 ; Charles H. Wheeler. 

Kev. John Swift, 1740 ; Dea. Josiah Noyes, 1780 ; David Barnard. 
Esq., 1800 ; Joash Keyes, Eliab Grimes, Jonathan W. Teele, Dea. W. 
W. Davis. 

Captain Phineas Osgood, 1744; Edward Harrington, 1800; Thomas 
F. Lawrence, 1872 ; Rev. James T. Woodbury, Capt. Daniel Tuttle. 

The old Parsonage: 

Josiah Piper, 1735; Rev. Moses Adams, 1819 ; Rev. Marshall Shedd, 
1831 ; Isaac Bullard. 

The old School-House north of the Parsonage, 
1798: 

The Centre Village.— Edward Tuttle, Joseph W. Tuttle, Charles Tut- 
tle, Dea. Joseph Brabrook. 

First Store. — Dea. John and James Fletcher, his brother, Rev. James 
Fletcher, Memorial Library. 

Peter Goodnow, M. D., Hon. Stevens Hayward, Mrs. Elizabeth Blood, 

Benjamin Wilde, Jr., Timothy Hartwell, Silas Jones. 



» By Horace F. Tuttle. 



Store. — Stephen Weston, John F. Davis. 

James Jones, Widow Leighton, Dea. John Fletcher, Cyrus Dole, 
Henry M. Smith, John E. Cutter. 

Samuel Chaffin, Jerusha Noyes, Elizabeth Brooks, T. Frederic Noyes. 

Hotel — Lieut. Henry Durant, 1808 ; Silas Jones, 1822 ; Horace Tuttle, 
1835 ; Daniel Tuttle, 1840 ; John E. Cutter. 

Samuel Jones, Esq., Doctor Abram Young, Simon Davis, Widow Har- 
riet Davis. 

Store — Dea. John and James Fletcher; Shoe Manufactory, John 
Fletcher and Sons. 
First Meeting-house, 1730 ; School-house, 1771. 

Brooks Tavern, Daniel Brooks, 17G2 ; Paul Brooks, James Fletcher, 
Jr., Nathaniel Stearns. 
James Fletcher, 1704, Dea. John's father, Abel Proctor, Silas Conant. 

Jones Turnpike. — Laid out in 1817. 

Widow Hannah Leighton, Samuel Jones, Esq., James Conant. 
Jonas lilodgett, Frank Hosmer. 

Theodore Reed, Horace Tuttle, Dea. William D. Tuttle. 
William Reed (3d), Joseph Reed. 

The new road through the Centre. Laid out iu 

1806. 

John Cragin. 

Allen Richardson, 1826; Charles F. Richardson, Ai. Robbing. 

The road over the Strawberry Hill, 1735. Bounds 
renewed 1803, and road straightened 1807, over the 
brook. 

The road from Littleton line — Nashoba Corner, 
called Proctor's Road, 1746 — leading to Cemetery, 
and crossing Harvard Turnpike at Daniel McCarthy's, 
1735, and on to Joel Conant and so. east Acton. 

Cotton Proctor, Peter Fletcher, Oliver Wetherbee, John Grimes. 
Magog Hill. 

Jonas Allen, 1762 ; Simon Tuttle, 1762 ; Francis Tuttle, Town of Ac- 
ton. 

Simon Tuttle ; Jr., 1828. 
Charles Handley, 1827. 

School, 1787, at the crossing leading to Mr. Ham- 
mond's, burnt 1795. 

Dr. Abraham Skinner, Charles Tuttle. 
Rocky Guzzle. 
Woodlawn Cemetery, 1736. 

Daniel F. Barker, 1809 ; Dea. Samuel Hosmer, 1839. 
Joseph Barker, 1762-1809 ; Lieut. Reubeu Barker, Joseph W. Wheeler. 
Abner Wheeler, Capt. Silas Jones, Daniel McCarthy. 
Daniel Shepherd, 1735 ; John Cole, 1800 ; Alvin Raymond, Jedidiah 
Tuttle. 

Joseph Cole, 1800; George B. Cole, William Hosmer. 

The Stow and Carlisle road, 1735-1803. 

Capt. Samuel Davis, 1735 ; John Adams, Jr., 1770; Ebenezer Barker, 
1807 ; Jonathan Barker, 1847 ; Cyrus Barker. 
S. E. School, 1771 ; Forge, 1766. 

County road from Mill Corner to Assabet River and 
Faulkner Mills, 1776. 

Joseph Dudley, 1793; Reuben Barker, William S. Jones. 

Josiah Hayward, 1735 ; Simeon Hayward, 1792 ; Mrs. Mary Skinner 

Hayward's Mills. 

Towards Faulkner's Mills. 

Lieut. John Adams, 1750 ; Moses Fletcher, 1826 ; Peter Fletcher, 
Lemuel Dole, Frank Pratt. 

Dea. Joseph Fletcher, 1735 ; Capt. Daniel Fletcher, 1776 ; Stephen 
Shepherd, Benjamin Wilde, 1797-1822; Asa Parker, 1825; Frank D 
Barker, 1885. 

Reuben Hosmer, 1800 ; Joseph Wilde, 1825 ; William A. Wilde. 
Charles Robbins. 

Capt. Johu Hayward, 1775 ; John S. Fletcher, Daniel Fletcher. 
Benjamin Robbins, 1820; John Fletcher, 1845. 



ACTON. 



27:: 



County road leading from Faulkner'* Mills to S. E. 
Acton Mills. 

Aminiruhanima Faulkner, before 17:55, Frauds Faulkner, Francis 
Faulkner, Jr., Wiuthrop Faulkner, Col. Winthrop E. Faulkner. 

Eoad to Maynard, 1847. 

Road to Store from Mill Corner, 1736. 

Joseph W. Tuttle, Capt. Aaron C. Handley. 
Moses Hay ward, Cyrus Hay ward. 

Iiavid Forlmsb, 1735 ; David Forbusli, Jr., -1771; Ephraim Forbusli, 
Abel Forbusli, Isaiah Reed. 

Road to Store from Mill Corner. 
John S. Fletcher Cross road. 

Cyrus Putnam, 1829. 

Simon Hunt, 1731 ; Capt. Simon Hunt, Jr., 1775. 
Josiah Bright. 

Nathan Robbins, 1736 ; George Robbins, 1775 ; George Robbins, Jr., 
1826. 

Sumner Blood Cross road. 

Tilly Robbins. 
Tilly Robbins, Jr. 

Road from Mill Corner and Stow to Concord 
School. 

Jonathan Tower. 

Ezra Wheeler, 1762 ; Lewis Wood, 1828 ; Mrs. C. D. Lothrop. 
Samuel Handley, 1807 ; Joseph Brown, 1820; Elijah Brown. 
Daniel Brooks, 1776 ; Dea. John Brooks, 1735 ; Jonas Brooks, Esq., 
1776 ; Nathan Wright, Obed Synionds. 
Titus Law, 1735 ; Joel Conant, 1823,; John Conaut, H. Hanson. 
John and Stephen and Amos Laws, 1735 ; Abel Cole, 1890. 
Asae Hosmer, Dea. Samuel Hosmer, Nathaniel Jones, Doctor Warner. 

Road from the Laws to Silas Holden's, 1770. 
Road from Stow and Concord Road to Harvard 
Turnpike, 1833. 

Joel Hosmer, Jonathan Hosmer, Nat. Thurston Law. 
Josiah Piper, 1825. 

Joseph Piper, 1774 ; Joseph Piper, Jr., Silas Piper, Jonathan Piper, 
Abel Farrar. 

Road from Harvard Turnpike to Moses Taylor, 
Esq.'s, site, 1797. 

Road from Moses Taylor, Esq. to Centre, 1774,: 

Joseph Barker, 1762 ; Moses Richardson, 1800 ; Silas Taylor, 1822 ; 
Moses Taylor, Esq. 
John Barker, 1736 ; Thad. Tuttle, 1797. 

Road from Mill Corner to the Centre, way to meet- 
ing, 1735. 

Store, Samuel Jones, 1735 ; Samuel Jones, Jr., Aaron Jones, 1776 ; El- 
nathan Jones. 
Capt. Abel Jones, Abraham H. Jones. 
Universalist Church. 
Simon Huut, School, 1771. 

William Cutting, 1735 ; William Cutting, Jr., 1808 ; Luther B. Jones, 
1826. 

Cross road to the West road. 

Doa. Jonathan Hosmer, 1735 ; Stephen Hosmer, 1765 ; Abner Hosmer, 
born 1754 ; Nathan D. Hosmer, 1800 ; Aaron Hosmer, Herman A. 
Gould. 

Simon Hosmer, Jr., Reuben L. Reed, John Kelly. 
Jonathan Hosmer, 1760 ; Simon Hosmer, Esq., 1800 ; Francis Tuttle, 
Esq., Edward O'Neill. 

County road aloDg the brook from Mill Corner to 
the Stow and Carlisle road, 1847. 

Road from Universalist church, Mill Corner to 
beyond the Ford Pond brook crossing near Mt. Hope 
Cemetery — before 1735. 
18 



Jacob Woods, 1735; Oliver Jones, 1771 ; Abraham Conant, Esq., Win- 
throp 1". Conant. 

Simon Hunt's new house, 1735; John Hunt, 1765; Jotham Hunt, 
1826 ; Joseph P. Read, George Collin. 

James Faulkner, Aaron Faulkner, 1800 ; Andrew Wilson, 1826 ; 
Daniel Wetherbee, John Hapgood. 

Mount Hope Cemetery. 

County road from Mt. Hope Cemetery to store in 
West Acton, 1766. 

Universalist Church. 
Baptist Church. 
Store, School. 

Farr's road to Meeting in 1735, coming from Stow 
to West Acton. 

Stephen Farr, 1740; Oliver Houghton, Levi Houghton. 

Tiionias Farr's, 1735 ; Nathaniel Faulkner, 1764; Nathaniel Faulkner, 
Jr., Nathaniel S. Faulkner, Frank H. Whitcomb. 

Capt. Samuel Hayward, 1735 ; James Hayward, born 1750 ; Capt. 
Stevens Hayward, Hon. Stevens Hayward, Orlando Leland. 

Ezekicl Davis, Capt. Isaac Davis, born 1745; Elias Chaflin, Jonathan 
B. Davis, George Hagar. 

Capt. Samuel Hayward's way to Meeting, 1735- 
1800. 

Hezekiah Wheeler, 1735 ; Samuel Wheeler, 1775-1797 ; Nathan 
Wheeler, James W. Wheeler. 

Joseph Wheeler, Dea. John Wheeler, Elisha H. Cutler. 

Road laid out 1762— a short line. 

William Reed, Joseph Reed. 

Road from Store in West Acton to Littleton, 1760. 

Bradbury Stone. 

John Tuttle, 1800 ; Reuben Handley, Jacob Priest. 
Timothy Brooks, William Reed, William Reed (2d), Isaac Reed. 
David Brooks, 1735 ; Joseph Brooks, 1780; Silas Brooks, Ephraim 
Hapgood, 1810 ; Ephraim Hapgood, Jr., Andrew Hapgood. 
Nathaniel Hapgood, 1800. 

Nathaniel Wheeler, 1762 ; Roger Wheeler, Eben Smith, Edwin Parker. 
Abraham Hapgood, 1775 ; James Hapgood, Simon Blauchard. 
Cyrus Hapgood, Benjamin F. Hapgood, John Hapgood, Ephraim 
Hapgood, Jr., Ephraim Hapgood, 1760. 

Nashoba road from West Acton. 

Judge Gilbert, 1775 j'James Keyes, Ivory Keyes, 1845 ; Nahum Little- 
field. 

From Nashoba to the Gravel-pit road, 1753. 

John Chaffin, 1762; John Chaflin, Jr., Antoine Bulette, 1829. 
Robert Chaflin, 1762 ; Robert Chaflin, Jr., 1829 ; A. Risso. 
Lieut. Thomas Noyes, 1753 ; Capt. Joseph Noyes, 1808 ; Thomas J. 
Noyes, 1829 ; Alonzo L. Tuttle. 

Gravel-pit road — County, 1846. 

John Chaffin's road to Meeting in 1753. 

James Fletcher, 1791 ; Potter Conant, 1795 ; Paul Conant, Samuel P. 
Conaut, 1808 ; Benjamin Robbins, Phineas Harrington, Simon Robbins. 

Samuel Parlin, 1776 ; Davis Parlin, Jonathan Parlin, Thomas Ham- 
mond. 

Off from the Harvard turnpike in coming from West 
Acton. 

Samuel Hosmer, 1795 ; Dea. Silas Hosmer, 1812; Frank W. Knowl- 
ton. 

The road leading from Stow to Concord before 
1735. 

Dea. Benjamin Hayward, Aaron Hayward, Lowell Wood, Albert A 
Haynes. 

Nagog Pond. 

Captain Daniel White, J. K. Putney. 

Dea. John White. 

David Lamsou, 1762, in from road. 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



274 

Joseph Chamberlain, in from road. 

Frederic Rouillard. 

Solomon Dutton. 

John Handley, David Handler. 

Joseph Robbins, 1774 ; John Dinsmore Robbiii6, James Keyes, George 
R. Keyes. 

Capt. John Handley, 1830; John Rouillard. 
Eben Rohbins, Abraham Handler, Henry Loker. 
Thomas lllanchard. 
Charles Robhins. 

Joseph t'liaftin, 1797 ; Jonathan Wheeler. 
Amos Noyee, Luther Davis. 
Reuben Wheeler. 
Joel Olirer, Ephraini Olirer. 

Mark White (2d), William Stearns, Robert P. Boss, Ephraini Davis. 
David Davis, Calvin Hayward, Solomon Smith, Samuel Tuttle, 18U0 ; 
Horace Hosmer. 

William Billings, Henry Brooks. 
Aaron Ghaffin, Silas Conant. 
School. 

Edward Wetherbee, Jonathan Billings, James E. Billings, Otis H. 
Forbush. 

James Billings. 1775 ; James Hapgoud, Isaiah Perkins. 
John Rohbins, 1800 ; Elbridge Rohbins. 
Joseph Wooley, 1735. 

Joseph Harris, If 35 ; Joseph Harris, Jr., 1735; Daniel Harris. 
John Barker, Jr., 1735. 

Edward Wetherbee, 177") ; Edward Wetherbee, Jr. 
Elbridge J. Robbins. 
Grist mill. 
Daniel Wetherbee. 

Road leading from Edward Wetberbee's across the 
brook, south of the saw-mill, 1749. 

Forge before 1735. 

Capt. Joseph Robbins, 1775. 

In from the road near the rivulet, south of Joseph 
Robbins. 

Capt. Thomas Wheeler, 1668. 
Nathan Robbins, before 1735. 

Road from Daniel Wetherbee's to Silas Holden's 
place, on the Harvard Turnpike, 1865. 

Samuel Wright, 1751 ; Samuel Wright, Jr., 1812; Silas Holden, 1823; 
Pope Si Lyman. 

New road over Strawberry Hill. 

Solomon Burges, John Whitney. 

Mark White, 1735 ; Samuel White, 1756; Simon Hapgood, Benjamin 
F. Hapgood. 

Road to Concord, from Strawberry Hill, 1735. 

Jonathan Cleaveland, 1735. 

Reuben Wheeler, 1800 ; William Wheeler. 

Addison Wheeler. 

Col. Nathanial Edwards, 1750 ; John Edwards, Daniel McCarthy. 
John Daris, 1735 ; Capt. Samuel Davis, 1763 ; Paul Dudley. 

" Branch from Littleton road. 

Lieut. Jonathan Billings, 1735 ; Jonathan Billings, 1762 ; Paul Dudley, 
1808 ; Calvin Harris. 

Ephraini Billings, 1775 ; Darius Billings, Joseph Estabrook. 
Israel Giles. 

Old road to Concord, 1735. 

Benjamin Brabrook, 1735 ; House built, 1751 ; Benjamin Brabrook, 
1770 ; George Brabrook, Hammond Taylor, 1890. 

Near Concord line, 1735. 

Seth Brooks, 1797 ; Nathan Brooks, Nathan Brooks, Jr., Wilber G. 
Davis, 1887. 

The old road to Littleton in 1735. 

Abram B. Handley. 

Capt. Daniel Davis, Ebenezer Davis, Ebenezer Davie, Jr., Amasa 
Davis, William Davie. 

Ebenezer Davis, William B. Davis. 



The road from Acton Centre to Carlisle, 1735-1803. 

Amos Handley, 1800. 

Jonas Davis, Abel Conant, Luther Conant, Luther Conant, Jr. , Esq. 
George W. Tuttle, 1800. 

Old road from Acton to Carlisle. 

Joseph Chaffin, 1784 ; Jonathan Wheeler. 
Thomas Thorp, 1775 ; Nathan Chaffin. 
Thomas Wheeler, 1735 ; Nehemiah's Hill. 
Jerry Hosmer, 1824. 
James Harris, 18.9. 

Uriah Foster, Hugh Cash, Ebenezer Wood. 

John Harris, 1769 ; John Harris, Jr., 1808 ; George H. Harris, 1889. 

Moses Woods, 1800 ; Aaron Woods. 

Cyrus Wheeler, 1844. 

James Davis, 1800 ; Ebenezer Hayward. 

Samuel Wheeler, 1735; Gershom Davis, 1740 ; John Hayward, Jr., 
Daniel Davis' Mill, 1775 ; Lieut. Phineas Wheeler, Francis Robbins. 
Elijah Davis, 1776. 
Jonathan Davis, 1800. 

Old East Cemetery before 1735. 

School, Dea. John Heald, 1735 ; Lieut. John Heald, 1702 ; Timothy 
Brown, 1800; John Nickles. 

John Davis's Mill, 1735, on Charles Turtle's brook. 

Daniel White's Mill on the Nagog brook below Abel 
Robbin's house, south of Thomas Moore. 

The Davis Monument — The citizens of Acton 
believing that the name of Captain Isaac Davis, the 
first officer who fell in the struggle for independence, 
and also the names of his two brave townsmen, Abner 
Hosmer and James Hayward — one of whom fell by 
his side on the famous 19th of April, 1775, at the 
old North Bridge in Concord, and the other in the 
pursuit at Lexington on the same day — were deserv- 
ing of a better fame than history had usually awarded 
them, and a more commanding and enduring struc- 
ture than ordinary slabs of slate to tell the story of 
their martyrdom and mark the spot where their dust 
reposes, passed the following vote at a large town- 
meeting holden on the 11th November a.d. 1850 . 

" Voted, That the town of Acton erect a monument 
over Captain Isaac Davis, Hosmer and Hayward, and 
that their remains be taken up and put in some suit- 
able place on Acton Common, if the friends of said 
Davis, Hosmer and Hayward are willing, and that the 
Selectmen and the three ministers in the town be a Com- 
mittee to lay out what they shall think proper or pe- 
tition Congress and the State Legislature for aid in 
erecting said monument." 

A petition for this object was presented to the Leg- 
islature early in the session by Rev. J. T. Woodbury. 

The committee consisted of Ivory Keyes, Luther 
Conant, James Tuttle, selectmen; James T. Woodbury, 
Robert Stinson, Horace Richardson, ministers, in be- 
half of the town. 

The joint committee of the Legislature or the Mil- 
itia to whom this petition was referred, unanimously 
submitted a report in favor of the project. The mat- 
ter was fully discussed, and after the eloquent address 
and appeal of Mr. Woodbury, the resolve was passed 
by a large majority. 

Two thousand dollars were appropriated, to be join- 
ed by an appropriation of five hundred dollars by the 




DAVIS MONUMENT. 



ACTON. 



town of Acton, to be expended under the direction of 
the Governor, George S. Boutwell, and a joint com- 
mittee of the town. 

There was a difference of choice by the committee 
as to where on the Common the monument should 
stand. The decision was finally left with the Gover- 
nor, who decided upon the present site, a spot not 
suggested by any one before, but which all agreed 
was just the place for it as soon as mentioned by the 
Governor. 

Another question decided, was whether it should be 
made of rough or hewn granite. "Let it be of God's 
own granite," said Mr. Woodbury, " and let it be from 
the Acton quarry nearest to the site." Most of the 
granite was taken from the hill in the rear of Mr. 
Woodbury's residence, less than a mile from the Com- 
mon to the north, and given by him for the purpose. 

The model finally approved by the committee has 
been universally admired for its beauty, simplicity 
and impressiveness. It is seventy-five feet high ; the 
top is four feet four inches square ; a square shaft, 
reaching upward from a finely-proportioned arch on 
each side at its base. The base is fifteen feet wide, 
and extends eight feet into the earth, and is of good, 
split, heavy blocks of granite. Through the centre 
of the cap-stone projects upward a wooden flag-staff, 
twenty-five feet in length, from the top of which a 
flag is kept floating, at the expense of the town, on 
all public days of patriotic import. 

In a panel on the side facing the main avenue the 
inscription reads as follows : 

" The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the town 
of Acton, co-operating to perpetuate the fame of their 
glorious deeds of patriotism, have erected this monu- 
ment in honor of Capt. Isaac Davis and privates 
Abner Hosmer and James Hayward, citizen soldiers 
of Acton and Provincial Minute-men, who fell in 
Concord Fight, the 19th day of April, a.d. 1775. 

" On the morning of that eventful day the Provin- 
cial officers held a council of war near the old North 
Bridge in Concord : and as they separated, Davis ex- 
claimed, 'I haven't a man that is afraid to go!' and 
immediately marched his company from the left to 
the right of the line, and led in the first organized 
attack upon the troops of George III. in that mem- 
orable war, which, by the help of God, made the 
thirteen colonies independent of Great Britain and 
gave political being to the United States of America. 

"Acton, April 19, 1851." 

The old gravestones, which stood for seventy-five 
years to mark the resting-place of the three patriots 
in Woodlawn Cemetery, have been laid on the sides 
of the mound at the base of the monument. They 
are very ancient in appearance, and bear the follow- 
ing interesting inscriptions : 

"Menent; Mor^ 

" Here lies the body of Mr. Abner Hosmer, who wa6 killed at Con- 
cord April 19 lh 1775, in ye defence of ye juBt rights of his country, being 
in the twenty-first year of his age." 



Hayward 's is even more interesting, containing, in 
addition, this poetry : 

" This monument may unborn ages tell 
How brave young Hay ward like a hero fell, 
When fighting for his countries liberty 
Was slain, and here his body now doth lye — 
He and his foe were by each other slaiu, 
His victim's blood with his ye earth did stain. 

Upon ye field he was with victory crowned, 
And yet must yield his breath upon that ground. 
He expressed his hope in God before his death, 
After his foe had yielded up his breath. 
Oh, may his death a lasting witness lye 
Against oppressor's bloody cruelty." 

This contains the story of his death. After the 
defeat of the British he stopped at a pump to drink, 
when a British officer, who came out of the house, 
exclaimed, " You're a dead man ! " Both aimed, fired, 
and both fell mortally wounded, the officer dying a 
few seconds before young Hayward. The powder- 
horn worn by Hayward was pierced with the ball, 
and is now preserved, having been silver-mounted by 
Edward Everett. 

The third stone is that of Captain Davis, which is 
headed, "I say unto all, watch!" and then, after a 
record of his death, this is added: "Is there not an 
appointed time to man upon ye earth? Are not his 
days also like the days of an hireling? As the cloud 
vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave 
shall come up no more. He shall return no more to 
his house; neither shall his place know him any 
more! Job 7 : 1, 9, 10." 

The dedication of this monument was a day to be 
remembered by every loyal citizen of the town ; in- 
deed, by every one present true to the flag of the 
Union. It occurred October 29, 1851. The monu- 
ment was surmounted by the stars and stripes, and 
from each side of the apex was extended a line of 
streamers and flags. Across the principal streets were 
also lines of flags, which were tastefully grouped and 
arranged by Mr. Yale, of Boston. 

The day was cloudy and lowering, but still favor- 
able for the ceremonies — no rain falling until they 
were all concluded. 

The attendance of the citizens of the surrounding 
towns was quite large. Five thousand persons were 
judged to be present, mostly the hardy and intelligent 
yeomanry of Old Middlesex, and their wives and 
daughters. 

The ceremonies of the day consisted of a proces- 
sion, an oration by His Excellency, Gov. Boutwell, 
a poem by Rev. J. Pierpont, of Medford, and a din- 
ner, which was succeeded by speeches from several 
distinguished gentlemen, among whom were Robert 
C. Winthrop, of Boston, Hon. B. Thompson, of 
Charlestown, Col. Isaac H. Wright, of Lexington, 
and Hon. Charles Hudson, of Lexington. A thou- 
sand plates were set for the dinner, under a mammoth 
tent, erected by Mr. Yale, of Boston, a few rods to the 
north of the monument. 

The procession was formed on the Green about 



276 



noon. The military escort, which made a fine ap- 
pearance, was under command of Col. James Jones, 
of the First Artillery, with Major I. S. Keyes and 
Adjutant E. C. Wetherbee as staff. The following 
companies composed the battalion : The Concord 
Artillery, Capt. James B. Wood, accompanied by 
Flagg's Boston Brass Band ; the Prescott Guards, of 
Pepperell, under command of Alden Lawrence, first 
lieutenant; the Sudbury Rifles, Captain Ephraim 
Morse. 

Following the escort was the civic procession, under 
command of Col. W. E. Faulkner, as chief marshal, 
assisted by Ed. W. Harrington, A. L. Hutchinson, 
Simon Davis, Henderson Rowell, Henry Brooks, 
George G. Parker, A. J. Clough and H. L. Neal, 
mounted aids, and Messrs. L. Gilman, Marshall Par- 
ker, V. Lintell and Lowell Stearns, on foot to escort 
the ladies ; the Governor and aides, consisting of 
Colonels Heard, Chapman, Williams and Needham ; 
the President of the Massachusetts Senate, invited 
guests, the president, vice-presidents and committee 
of arrangements of the various towns, composed the 
second division. The third division embraced No. 1 
Division of the Order of United Americans, and the 
"O'Kommakamesit" Fire Company, No. 2, of Marl- 
boro'. The fourth and fifth divisions were composed 
of citizens from Lexington, Concord, Littleton, Box- 
boro', Sudbury, Westford, Stow and Acton. Several 
of these towns carried appropriate banners. That 
from Lexington was a large, white banner with a red 
fringe. On the front was the inscription, "Lexing- 
ton, April 19, 1775. 0, what a glorious day for 
America ! ' ; On the reverse — " Freedom'a Offering ! " 
and the names of Parker and other patriots who fell 
in the fight at Lexington. 

From the Green the procession proceeded towards 
the Old Burying-ground, southeast part of the town, 
where the remains of the patriots Davis, Hosmer and 
Hayward were deposited, awaiting their removal to 
the monument. 

The bones, which were disinterred some days before, 
were nearly entire, and were enclosed in an oblong, 
black walnut box, highly polished and studded with 
silver nails. The remains were enclosed in different 
compartments, each marked upon the cover by a 
silver plate bearing the name of the old patriots. 
The cheek-bone of Hosmer showed the trace of the 
ball which caused his death, entering just below the 
left eye and coming out at the back of the neck. 

The box was placed in a hearse, and under the 
escort of the " Davis Guards," First Lieutenant Dan- 
iel Jones in command, met the procession at the 
junction of the two roads leading to town. Here 
both parties halted — the military escort in open 
order, and with arms presented awaited the approach 
of the sacred remains — the Lowell Band, which ac- 
companied them, playing a beautiful dirge, composed 
by Kurick. Flagg's Brass Band, which accompanied 
the escort, then performed the dirge, " Peace, trou- 



bled ; " after which the escort fell into position and 
the procession, including the remains, proceeded to 
the monument. Eight venerable citizens of Acton, 
all of them over seventy years of age, appeared as 
pall-bearers. They were : Joseph Harris, Dr. Charles 
Tuttle, each eighty-two years old ; Nathan D. Hosmer 
(nephew of Abner), eighty ; John Harris, Daniel 
Barker and James Keyes, each seventy-six years; 
Jonathan Barker, seventy-four; and Lemuel Hil- 
dreth, seventy. The hearse was driven by John 
Tenney. 

Upon arriving at the monument the box contain- 
ing the remains was placed upon a stand in the street, 
which was covered with a black velvet pall. The 
box was opened and an opportunity given to all who 
wished to look upon the remains. The box was then 
closed and deposited in the monument in the place 
designed for it. The procession was then again 
formed and proceeded to the tent, under which the 
remaining scenes of the day were to take place. 

The tent was hung around with streamers festooned 
and in the centre was the beautiful flag which had 
recently been presented by the ladies of Acton to the 
" Davis Guards." The tent was reached about one 
o'clock. Rev. J. T. Woodbury, president of the day, 
called upon Rev. Mr. Frost, of Concord, to invoke a 
blessing on the table and the day. An original hymn 
composed by Rev. Henry Durant, of Byfield, a native 
of Acton, was sung to the tune of " Hamburg." 
The first and sixth of the seven stanzas are here 
given 

" 0 God, we give the praise to Thee, 

The honor of our nation's birth ; 
It was Thy power that made us free — 

The power that guides the rolling earth. 
As on this pile, beneath those skies, 

The peaceful light of heaven shall play, 
So the Heroic Past shall rise 

And meet the glories of that day." 

The oration, poem and speeches then followed, 
which were eloquent and stirring with patriotic senti- 
ment and fully appreciated by the responsive crowds 
in attendance. 

The closing words of Governor Boutwell. — "To-day 
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the town ot 
Acton dedicate this monument to the memory of the 
early martyrs of the Revolution and consecrate it to 
the principles of liberty and patriotism. 

"Here its base shall rest and its apex point to the 
heavens through the coming centuries. Though it 
bears the names of humble men and commemorates 
services stern rather than brilliant, it shall be as im- 
mortal as American history. 

"The ground on which it stands shall be made clas- 
sical by the deeds which it commemorates, and may 
this monument exist only with the existence of the 
republic: and when God, in His wisdom, shall bring 
| this government to nought, as all human governments 
i must come to nought, may no stone remain to point 
the inquirer to fields of valor, or to remind him of 
1 deeds of glory. 



ACTON. 



277 



"And finally may the republic resemble the sun in 
his daily circuit, so that none shall know whether its 
path were more glorious in the rising or in the set- 
ting." 

Judge Hoar's sentiment (of Concord). — " The mem- 
ory of Davis and Hosmer and their brave companions 
in arms : The men who fell at the Old North Bridge, 
of Concord, and the men who avenged their fall : the 
first who received the enemy's fire, and the first officer 
who returned it. One in purpose, one in patriotism : 
separated by the fortunes of that day — united forever 
in the gratitude and admiration of their country- 
men." 

Rev. Mr. Pierpont, the poet, gave this as his senti- 
ment, alluding to the slight interruption by the noise 
of knives and forks near the close of his poem, and 
saying that, having pitted his tongue against a bul- 
lock's, and been most terribly worsted, a speech could 
not be expected of him. 

" Let Poets learn at dinner to be brief, 
Else will their tongues be beaten by tlie beef." 

Daniel Webster's sentiment, forwarded from Marsh- 
field. — " Isaac Davis : an early grave in the cause of 
liberty has secured to him the long and grateful re- 
membrance of his country." 

The Davis Monument was honored by a visit of the 
State Military Camp, of Concord, under the command 
of General Benjamin F. Butler, in the fall of 1870. 
The noon hour in camp was a scene of bustle in j 
preparation for the afternoon march to Acton. While I 
dinner was yet in a state of service at division quar- 
ters, the drums of the First Brigade were heard in 
the far distance to the right and the long line was 
marked by its dust, wending its way by a circuitous 
route to the review field. In half an hour the other 
brigades were on the march and at quarter of two 
o'clock five thousand men were in line. The infantry 
were on the right and centre, and the whole artillery 
and cavalry were massed on the right. 

Promptly at two o'clock General Butler, mounted on 
a white horse, and with his full staff, took his place 
at the head of the division and rode out at the 
north corner on the Concord Road. He wore no 
plume. The marching column was about a mile and 
a quarter in length. The road from Concord to Acton 
was largely the same as the Acton troops took in the 
Revolution, the division marching in column of fours. 
At frequent intervals groups of men, women and 
children were gathered to witness the pageant. 

The head of the column reached Acton at ten min- 
utes after four o'clock. The selectmen, W. W. Davis, 
Elbridge J. Robbins, Jr., and Charles Robinson, with 
a committee of citizens and ladies, headed by John 
Fletcher, Jr., had made ample preparations to wel- 
come the troops. Houses were decorated and barrels 
upon barrels of lemonade and apples had been got 
ready. 

The monument was elegantly decorated and also 
the town hall adjacent. The streets were crowded 



with people in holiday attire. W. W. Davis, chair- 
main of the Board of Selectmen, addressed General 
Butler in an eloquent and earnest manner. The gen- 
eral responded : " In behalf of the soldiers of Massa- 
chusetts gathered herein your good old town, I thank 
you for your earnest welcome and for your offered 
hospitality. It seems most pleasant to us to find so 
beautiful a resting-place after our long and weary 
march. You have referred to the services of tbe 
militia in the late war, and you will allow me to say 
that the character and conduct of Co. E, of Acton, 
evidenced that the spirit of the Revolutionary sires 
has not died out of the good town of Acton. 

"You have the honor of having erected the third 
monument of the War of the Revolution, and of 
having suffered among the first in that struggle. You 
have earned the right to say that the sons will, by 
deed and work, keep green the memories of this his- 
toric spot. You and they have made a noble record, 
and, as it has been in the past, so may it be in the 
future. 

" I doubt not that the sight of this monument, and 
the thought that we stand on the ground made sacred 
by the ashes of heroes, will be of value to the Military 
of Massachusetts, in increasing in their bosoms the 
holier emotions of patriotism, and inspire them to be 
able defenders of the institution for which Davis, and 
Hosmer and Hayward fell. 

" We rejoice that we are able to be here and thank 
you again for the welcome and the bounty with which 
you greet us. We propose to close our response by a 
salute of thirteen guns, which will be fired by one of 
our light batteries, as a further tribute of respect and 
affection for the men of Acton living and dead." 
The event was a lively one, and a feature of the week 
that will long be remembered by those who partici- 
pated in it, and by those who witnessed it. 

The War of 1812— The War of 1812 was not 
popular in this part of the country, but in the begin- 
ning of the war several men were enlisted in the 
army. In 1814 the military company called the 
Davis Blues was ordered into service as a body and 
was despatched to Boston to assist in the defence of 
that place against a possible attack. Hon. John C. 
Park, of Boston, a native of Acton, and a grandson 
of Rev. Moses Adams, thus writes, describing the 
event : 

" 1 well remember the commotion in Acton on the 
day when the Blues met to take up their march to 
Boston. We boys were wild with excitement, but 
when the large doors of the meeting-house were 
thrown open and it was understood that the company 
would have prayers offered for them, we were so- 
bered at once. I thought the prayer was very earn- 
est and appropriate, and was indignant when after- 
wards, among the gathered knots of men in front of 
the porch, I heard some criticising it as being too 
much tinctured with the good old minister's anti-war 
sentiments. In a few days the fifer returned and 



278 



gave glowing accounts of their enthusiastic reception 
and the march of the Blues through Boston. It 
seems that at every street-corner the men and the 
boys would cheer, and the drum and fife were ex- 
pected to respond with a triple roll and salute. The 
poor fifer was so exhausted with his untiring efforts, 
to pipe shrill for the honor of his corps and the town, 
that he was taken with spitting of blood and had to 
return home. This I believe was the only blood shed 
during the campaign." 

The enemy kept away from Boston, otherwise the 
" Davis Blues " might have patterned after the style of 
the Davis minute-men thirty-nine years before at 
Concord. John Fletcher, afterwards captain of the 
company, was then clerk and went to Boston as clerk. 
Silas Jones, the son of Aaron Jones, was the captain. 
His company was the first to report at headquarters 
(after receiving the orders) of any in the regiment. 
Thiee times since the existence of the nation a com- 
pany from Acton has been summoned at the outbreak 
of war, — the Revolution, the War of 1812 and the 
War of the Rebellion — and in each case has been the 
first to appear on duty. 

A list of Acton Davis Blues who went to South 
Boston in the War of 1812, whose names have been 
copied from the original-pay roll, in the handwrit- 
ing of the clerk of the company, Deacon John 
Fletcher, now in possession of Deacon Samuel Hos- 
mer : 

Captain, Silaa Jones, son of Aaron Jones ; 1st Lieutenant, James 
Jones ; 2d Lieutenant, Aaron Hay ward ; Ensign, Jonathan Hosmer, Jr.; 
Clerk, John Fletcher ; Samuel CoDant, John Heudley, Silas Piper, Jr., 
fifor ; Paul Conant, baas drum ; Abner Wheeler, small drum ; Luke 
Hayward, James Fletcher, Jr. (brother to the clerk) ; Jonathan B. 
Davis, James Hayward, Josiah H. Adams, Joseph Barker (2d), Jonathan 
Billings, Jr., Ephraim Billings, Josiah Bright, Jr., James Conant, Joel 
Conant, John Conant, John Chaffin, Joseph T. Chamberlain, Ezekial 
Chamberlain, Ebenezer Davis, Luther Davis, John S. Fletcher, Abel 
Forbush, Silas Hosmer, Moses Hayward (shot accidentally), Nathaniel 
Hapgood, John Harris, James Keyes, George Robbins, Joseph Robbins, 
George W. Robbins, John D. Robbins, William Reed (3d), Allen Rich- 
ardson, Jonathan Wheeler, Samuel Whitney, Oliver Wetherbee, Nathan 
D. Hosmer. 

School-Houses. — There was a movement in 1740, 
soon after the town was organized, to obtain an appro- 
priation for school purposes, but the movement failed. 
At a meeting in 1741 the town voted that a reading, 
writing and moving school be kept for six months. 

This early action in favor of a school on wheels 
shows that the idea is not original with the present 
generation. 

In 1743, at aspecial meeting in December, the town 
voted £18, old tenor, for a reading and writing school 
and to divide the town into three parts. 

This division continued until 1751, when the dis- 
tricts were increased to six, in 1771 another was add- 
ed for a few years. 

From 1790-1800 there were five districts, then four 
for nearly thirty years, when the present division 
into six districts began. When there were only four 
districts the inhabitants of the southeast part of the 



town received their school money from the town and 
united with certain inhabitants of Sudbury and Con- 
cord, and had a school in a house which was just 
across the Sudbury line. This was called the School 
of the Three Friends. At this time the North and 
East Districts were one. Previous to the organiza- 
tion of the town there were buildings erected for school 
purposes at private expense, and the schools kept 
according to the circumstances then existing in differ- 
ent localities. 

The first schoolmasters were mostly residents of 
the town. As late as 1771 there were four school- 
houses which were private property. The first appro- 
priations for schools were very small — not more than 
£12. 

But few studies were taught and the teachers but 
poorly paid. The schools were called reading and 
writing schools, and none but the simplest rudiments 
of knowledge were taught before the present century. 

A master in the winter received but little more per 
week than a day-laborer, and the teacher of a 
"woman's school " but little more than a servant girl. 

In 1760 an order was drawn to pay a master fifteen 
shillings for keeping school two weeks and a half, and 
another drawn for his board for half that sum. 

An aged resident of the town said that when she 
was a girl the lady teacher had one dollar per week 
for her services and her mother received one dollar 
per week for boarding her. The grant for schools was 
greatly supplemented by donations and subscriptions 
by the citizens for private schools. 

For several years a private school was supported 
in the autumn at the Centre of the town. Rev. Asa 
D. Smith, D.D., late president of Dartmouth College, 
was one of the teachers of that school. 

The town records give the following items: "October 
14, 1796, it was voted that there shall be five districts 
in this town, and the school-houses shall be built on 
the same places that was agreed upon by a former 
vote of the town, viz.: One of the said houses to be 
built near Mr. John Dexter's Paster bars on the 
road leading from the meeting house to Dr. Abraham 
Skinner's. 

" One on the hill West of Jonathan Tower's house. 

" One on the crotch of the road West of Samuel 
Wheeler's house (where Mr. Cyrus Wheeler's house 
now stands nearly). 

" One where the school house near Samuel Tuttle's 
now stands (in the East District, near Horace Hos- 
mer's present residence). The other house to be 
built where the school-house now stands near John 
Harris. 

" January 21st, 1797. To see if the town will agree 
to build a school-house to accommodate the District 
where the school-house was consumed by fire. 

"To see if the town will agree to form themselves 
into a certain number of school districts and provide 
each District with a school-house and divide the 
school money into so many equal parts." 



ACTON. 



279 



In 1797 a town-meeting was called "to see if the 
town will reconsider all former votes respecting 
building school-houses, if any there be on record, and 
see if the town would build a school-house in the 
district that had the school-house burnt." (This house 
that was burnt stood at the turn of the road beyond 
Mr. Charles Tuttle's site leading to Mr. Thomas 
Hammond, in the south corner). 

" Voted to reconsider all former votes respecting dis- 
tricts for seven years past. Voted that there be a com- 
mittee of five men to fix a place for a school-house in 
the North District to which Lieutenant Noyes belongs, 
and that Jonas Brooks, John Edwards, Esq., Aaron 
Jones, George Robbins and Edward Wetherbee be 
the Committee. 

"Then voted fifty pounds to build said house and 
that said committee build such house as they think 
Propper for said District and the best way they can.'' 

In November, 1798, the committee appointed by 
the town reported they had " attended to the service 
and soaled four of the oald school-houses, viz.: one 
by Mr. John Adams, Jr., one by Oliver Jones, one by 
Hezekiah Wheeler's, and one near the meeting- 
house. The whole of which was soaled for Eifty- 
five dollars and approved notes given to the Town 
Treasurer for the same payable within nine months 
from the date." 

The school-house located and built by this com- 
mittee, of which Jonas Brooks was chairman, was the 
old red school-hou se which stood for the next forty 
years a few rods north of the parsonage, then newly 
built, on the same side of the road. The frame of 
this school-house is now the substantial part of Mr. 
Cyrus Hale's house. It stood on rising ground facing 
the east. It was well built, square, with a high desk 
in the centre of the west side and rows of double 
desks rising on the north and south sides, the highest 
row on a level with the windows, styled the back 
seats, where the oldest scholars sat. This was the 
model for the school-houses built at that time. 

It answered the purpose of a grand amphitheatre 
for the development of the muscle and brain of 
Acton's near future. 

Here the Tuttles, Taylors, Joneses, Fletchers, 
Hosmers, Conants, Stearnses, Richardsons, Davises, 
Parlins, Handleys, Browns gathered for their daily 
tilt with themselves, their mates and their masters. 

They came in groups from all parts of the district, 
ranging out a mile and a half and numbering in some 
winter terms nearly a hundred, all grades in charge of 
one teacher. The elements which collided and har- 
monized in this arena "during a single day, and day 
after day, was a miniature picture of Acton's liveliest 
town-meeting. 

The story of this one-school-house would fill a vol- 
ume, but we have no space for the romance here, — 

" Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way 
With blossom'd furze, unprofitably gay, 
There in bis noisy mansion, skilled to rule, 
The village master taught his little school ; 



A man severe ho was and stern to view — 
I knew him well, and every truant knew." 

By-ways and Nooks of Acton. 1 — There is a de- 
serted farm lying to the southeast of Nagog Pond 
which many years ago was the home of a family 
named Chamberlain. The house and other buildings 
are now gone, but their location may be determined 
by the remaining well and cellars. 

This place suggests the stanza in one of Miss 
Chandler Moulton's poems : 

"The cowslips spring in the meadow, 
The roses bloom on the hill 
And beside the brook in the pasture 
The herds go feeding at will." 

It exactly answers to all the particulars. If the stanza 
had been written especially for this place, it could 
not have come nearer to reality. 

There is a profusion of cowslips in the meadow, an 
abundance of old-fashioned damask roses on the 
hill near the well and a pretty brook, and almost al- 
ways there are cattle pastured there. 

The house, if it was still standing, would add greatly 
to the quaintness of the place. It is a quiet nook, 
away from all traces of civilization. There is an 
abundance of wild fruits in their season, and a rare 
place for boating or fishing on Nagog Pond. 

In a northerly direction from Strawberry Hill is 
where the Indians, once inhabifants of this and the 
neighboring towns, used to go to manufacture their 
arrow-heads. They would never tell the early settlers 
definitely where they went, but would indicate that 
direction. Some years ago a hunter's dog while dig- 
ging for a rabbit or a fox, cut his paws badly. His 
master found he had dug into a great quantity of very 
small sharp-edged, flint-like rocks, which, without 
doubt, were the remains left by the Indians from mak- 
ing their arrow-heads. 

Probably the first settlers of South Acton were 
Nathan Robbins and wife, who came from East Acton 
and located at a site now owned by Mr. James Tuttle 
on the road to Stow, called the Bright's House. They 
started from their home beyond the cemetery in East 
Acton. Mr. Robbins drove the team loaded with the 
household goods and the wife took charge of the baby 
and also the family pig. In her journey she came to 
the big brook, which the pig would not cross. He 
seemed to have some premonitions of his fate and 
that of his descendants, should he head for that part 
of the country, but the woman was as resolute as the 
pig. She landed her most precious freight across the 
stream first, and then returning, pigged it over all 
safe, and at last reached their new home. The story 
is that Mrs. Robbins and freight reached the spot 
first. At any rate, for some unexplained reason, the 
ladies in that part of the town have always been a 
little ahead. 

The Old Chestnut-Tree. — If you have not seen 
that chestnut-tree don't miss the next chance. It is 

1 By Bertha H. Hosmer. 



280 



one of the original settlers of the town. Its birth 
record is not on town-books, but some think it is well 
on to two hundred years old. It was in a flourishing 
condition when Captain Davis and his company 
passed that way in 1775. It was a large tree when 
Simon Hapgood, father of Benjamin, was a child. 

Thoreau and his sister came up from Concord to 
visit it before he died, and he made it twenty-two feet 
in circumference then. It is now more than that. 
The interior of the tree is hollow. The cavity is cir- 
cular, sixty inches in diameter and twenty-five feet in 
height, through which one may look and see the sky 
beyond. An opening has recently been cut at the 
bottom and entrance can be easily made. There are 
worse places for a night's lodging. A good crop of 
chestnuts is yearly produced by its living branches. 
The town should get possession of this luscious tablet 
of the bygones and see that no ruthless axe take it 
too soon from the eyes of the present generation. If 
you wish to find it, go to the residence of Benjamin 
Hapgood, on Strawberry Hill, turn in from the road 
to the southeast from Mr. Hapgood's barn a few rods 
to a piece of woods, and you will easily find the 
venerable specimen. 

Geologic Sketch of Acton. 1 — Acton, unlike some 
of the neighboring towns, owes the principal part of 
its natural scenery to the irregular surface of the rock 
strata which form its foundation. The contour, 
through the action of the various atmospheric agen- 
cies, had nearly reached its present form before the 
glacial period, and it was but slightly modified by the 
action of the ice during that period. Rising to its 
greatest elevation near the centre of the town, the 
slope to the northward received the greatest force pro- 
duced by the motion of the ice toward the south, 
which resulted in grinding down and polishing the 
surface of the rock and in making the slope to the 
north more gentle, while the slope to the south was 
left steep and often ragged. 

The rock is a micaceous gneiss, often merging into 
mica schist firmly stratified, with a strike north 60° 
east, and a very steep dip to the northwest. This 
rock is a member of that crystalline series which 
forms the oldest portions of the earth's crust. Above 
this solid rock is the loose material known generally 
as earth — that is, the accumulation of gravel, sand, 
clay, loam, etc., which was broughfc to its present 
position and deposited by the agency of the ice sheet. 
Portions of this material were accumulated under the 
ice in a comparative thin layer over nearly the entire 
surface of the country. In certain places, however, 
it was built up, by a process not yet understood, into 
lenticular masses, with their longer axes parallel to 
the motion of the ice or nearly north-south. This 
gave rise to a prominent feature in our topography, 
the class of hills known as drumlins, and of which the 



i By George Barton, a native of Acton, and geologic teacher in the 
School of Technology, Boston. 



hill just west of West Acton Village, the two south of 
South Acton, and Strawberry Hill, toward the north- 
east part of the town, are typical examples. On 'the 
surface of the ice and throughout its mass was a 
large amount of earth and rock, which was scattered 
over the surface of the country as the ice disappeared. 
This being in loose form, and easily acted upon by the 
floods produced by the melting of the glacier, was 
washed over and separated into distinct areas of sand, 
gravel and clay. These washed-over portions natur- 
ally accumulated in the lower levels, giving rise to 
the sand and gravel plains which extend along the 
courses of Nashoba and Fort Pond Brooks, and to the 
southeast merge into the larger areas bordering the 
Assabet River. Another and very peculiar feature 
of the washed-over material is the kame. This was 
formed by the small boulders and pebbles accumulat- 
ing in the channels of rivers running upon the ice, 
and which, upon the disappearance of the ice sheet, 
were deposited upon the surface of the country, form- 
ing long, narrow, winding ridges of coarse gravel. A 
very fine example of this occurs in Acton, extending 
from the extreme southeast corner of the town, near 
the powder-mills, with occasional gaps by the ceme- 
tery near the Centre, and thence nearly parallel to and 
just west of Nashoba Brook, nearly to Carlisle line. 

The streams which flow through the town still fol- 
low generally the valleys formed by them before the 
advance of the ice sheet, but in a few cases their 
courses have been slightly changed by the accumula- 
tions deposited by the glacier. The larger ponds oc- 
cupy pre-glacial valleys ; but the smaller ponds, like 
Grassy Pond in the north and Sinking Pond in the 
southeast, simply occupy small depressions in the 
surrounding sand plains. 

The Artist's View of Acton. 2 — The surface of 
Acton, like that of most Middlesex towns, is suffi- 
ciently broken and varied in its character to possess 
a fair share of picturesque localities. With the 
neighboring towns of Westford and Littleton, it forma 
an elevated range of hill country similar to that 
formed by Harvard and Bolton, only of lesser height. 
Within its boundaries and those of its neighbor 
towns are found some of the largest ponds of Middle- 
sex. Although unlike Concord or Sunbury, which 
are flat and meadowy, and which have the benefit of 
a river to supply their most beautiful points, this 
town may be said to possess a landscape not inferior 
to them. 

From a picturesque point of view, the near vicinity 
of running water is most favorable for producing in- 
teresting places. The variety of tree forms found in 
such localities, with the different crops on the culti- 
vated lands adjoining, are enhanced by the winding 
course of the stream. Though without a river, this 
town has two mill streams which in a great degree re- 
place one. Two sections of the town are crossed by 



- By Arthur F. Davis, resident of the town. 



ACTON. 



281 



large brooks. Both West and South Acton are tra- 
versed by Fort Pond Brook, and the frequent dams 
erected for mill purposes create a succession of 
charming ponds. 

The finest stretch of this stream is perhaps that from 
South Acton Village to the road leading to Concord 
Junction at Hanson's. There it bends and twists its 
way through a fine succession of rocky and woody 
hollows, with here and there an interruption in the 
shape of a mill. In this section we are sure it is 
equal to any similar water-course in Middlesex in 
beauty. Through West Actcu it creates by its way- 
ward course many interesting places, but is not so 
picturesque as the locality just mentioned. 

As one comes along the highway leading from 
East Acton to the Centre, he crosses a stream con- 
verted by a mill-dam just below into a long, shallow 
pond, which extends northward some distance. This 
is Nashoba Brook, and, although smaller than the 
other, is the most picturesque stream within the town. 

Nashoba, from its source in Westford, comes down 
a long, winding valley into the meadows of East 
Acton. Where it enters Acton it i3 a quiet stream, 
flowing unnoticed through stretches of low land until 
it reaches the first mill, some two miles from its 
head-waters. At this place, where is a saw-mill, are 
found some rare bits, considered from a painter's 
point of view. 

Three tributary brooks enter Nashoba within the 
territory of Acton. The first enters near the Carlisle 
boundary ; the largest, Nagog Brook, the outlet to 
Nagog Pond (this name is not Magog, but Nagog. 
The old Indian name is a good one) joins it a mile 
or so below the first mill-dam. Just below this is a 
smaller rivulet, which drains the meadows north and 
west of the Centre. The territory which lies between 
the first and third mills embrace the finest and most 
picturesque spots on the stream. 

The old Jonathan Wheeler place, which is in this 
neighborhood, is particularly notable as being one of 
the most beautiful localities in the town. Just be- 
low the third mill the brook is crossed by a bridge a 
few rods south of the old Revolutionary bridge (now 
gone), over which the minute-men marched to Con- 
cord via the Strawberry Hill road and the fields. 
Still farther down the stream is the long pond first 
mentioned, with its wide reach of intervale on either 
side and picturesque surroundings of the old mill 
and dam which creates it. 

Both our Acton brooks are tributary to the Assabet 
River, and unite their waters with it just over the 
Concord line. Although, like other streams, ours are 
perhaps the most attractive in the spring and fall, 
yet no season will be found unattractive about them. 
Each has its peculiar charm, which, if noticed, can 
never fail to give pleasure to the observer. Each 
cook and corner in their vicinity will amply repay 
the effort made to visit them, and a spare hour spent 
about them is looked back upon with interest. 



The pond region belonging to Acton is not exten- 
sive. There are only two small ponds — Grassy and 
Sinking Ponds — which are entirely within the town 
limits. Grass Pond is unique in having a singular 
sedgy growth about its margin, and is a pretty little 
sheet of water, famed for its lilies with pink-tinted 
leaves, which grow in great profusion. 

Sinking Pond is a minute reproduction of Walden, 
as it used to be before the building of the railroad 
and the advent of the modern pic-nic ground. The 
water of this pond, which has no visible outlet or in- 
let, is very clear and pure. Scarcely any vegetable 
matter appears about its borders, and it is surrounded 
by a high ridge of scrubby sand-hills. 

Nagog, of which Acton possesses the larger part, is 
the first lake in this section in point of size, its length 
being about two miles and its width one mile. Its 
waters are quite clear and deep, and are broken only 
by one small island near the southern end. 

There are many fine groups of trees about this 
southern end, which is wild and woody. Here are 
the greatest number of choice spots in early spring 
days, when the young leaves of the birches first green 
the wood, and the brilliant oriole hangs her nest on 
delicate pensile limbs over the water. 

The shore on this side is fringed by quantities of 
blueberry bushes and is rocky, without a beach. Back 
from these the hills rise up in broad bush-grown 
sweffs to the highest point of Acton — Nagog Hill, as 
it is called. 

The most vital and peculiar feature of our Acton 
landscape is found in its apple orchards. These are 
the most interesting part of the natural scenery here. 
Other towns, doubtless, share with Acton in this re- 
spect, but in none of them, in Middlesex at least, 
does the apple-tree reach such a picturesque state. 
The farmers do not think, many of them, that the 
chance and irregular groups of wild apples springing 
up beside the road, side wall, or in corners in the 
pastures, are worth consideration. However, there is 
no more beautiful combination of color in the land- 
scape than that offered by these trees in the time of 
their bloom. 

Wild apples are proverbially famous for the deli- 
cacy and fragrance of their bloom, which is also of 
richer color than that of the cultivated varieties. 
Cultivated orchards, of course, are in greater number 
than these wild trees, and are rightly paramount in 
commercial importance. Although planted as they 
are in checker-board form for economy of space and 
ease of cultivation, nature early asserts her maguifi- 
cent arrangement and leans the trees in different di- 
rections. There is nothing commonplace about the 
apple-tree wherever found. Its limbs are crooked 
and full of surprising twists, and its spray, though 
coarse, is full of characteristic kinks. With the pos- 
sible exception of a few varieties, it never forms a 
regular cylindrical head, but with its growing years 
increases in the beauty of its irregular outline. The 



» 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



orchards are, in short, most typical of our rocky, hilly 
country, and are its crowning beauty. 

The magnificent blooming tree is a perpetual re- 
proach to those who only consider it after its fruit is 
packed away in a cellar or in barrels ready for mar- 
ket. Theaboundant growth of wood and orchard af- 
ford the birds sufficient protection and food to enable 
them to multiply without molestation in Acton. 
Consequently, our ornithological list embraces most 
of the species found in inland New England, with 
the exception of the sea birds, a few of which visit 
our ponds and brooks in the early spring or fall. The 
large family of wood warblers in particular thrive 
here; the catalogue often comprises upward of twelve 
species and, doubtless, a more practical observer 
might extend the list. 

In the flora, too, Acton offers particularly rich op- 
portunities. The varied character of the country af- 
fords protection to a surprisingly wide variety of 
plant growth. Among the trees we have nearly all 
found in Massachusetts. One, however, the true pa- 
per or canoe birch, is well-nigh extinct here, only a 
few scattered specimens remaining in town. 

Game in Acton. — The hills, woods, brooks and 
ponds of Acton have been noted from earliest dates 
for the frequent visits of the disciples of the gun and 
rod. The Indians for generations had the first chance 
on these grounds. We need not go to the books to 
be sure that they were in goodly numbers and in Trim 
for luck among the fins, the furs and the feathers. 

The apostle John, when he went on his missionary 
tours among the Indians, had to come to these parts, 
for he was sure to find an audience along the Nashoba 
waters and the " big brook." These Indians could 
sing. Eliot had good success in that line. Wilson 
relates that at their meeting " the Indians sung a 
Psalm, made Indian by Eliot in one of our ordi- 
nary English tunes melodiously." In 1689 there 
were twenty-four Indian preachers. In 1676 there 
were 567 praying Indians at Nashoba plantation. 

James Spear, with his Indian choir, sung Psalms at 
one of Eliot's meetings May 14, 1654. There has 
always been something in the atmosphere or in the 
ground or in the spot in th ; s vicinity congenial to 
music. We have heard fish and game stories among 
the veterans of our own day, and have heard them 
sing and whistle and blow their horns on their home- 
ward beat ; but those red men of the past, if they 
could speak, would easily silence these modern 
tongues. 

The earliest records show that the brooks were once 
stocked with some varieties not now common. 

Captain Daniel Tuttle's mother, Harriet Wether- 
bee, sister to Edward Wetherbee, Senior, used to go 
down to the brook, below the dam, and throw out 
shad and alewivee in her day. They had at one time, 
on the Assabet, at Southeast Acton, a fish warden 
and fish weirs. 

As early as 15th of February, 1739, there was an 



article in the town warrant " to know whether the 
town will insist on Mr. Faulkner's opening his dam 
30 days in a year, as ye law directs, where alewives 
and other fish pass in great plenty." 

There used to be a deer's man appointed by the 
town to look after the deer and decide upon questions 
relating to the matter, which shows the deer were 
here. There have always been self-appointed private 
wardens to look after the dears, but these were bona- 
fide deer. 

Men who hunt and fish for sport are noted for their 
quiet, modest ways, and it is difficult to get any state- 
ment from them on their luck, but by hard pressing, 
a few items have been secured, which may be of in- 
terest to the public. Worse records even than these 
could be had, if the right men could be interviewed 
by the right man. They did not intend to have 
their names mentioned, and so are not responsible for 
the publishing of the inglorious tale of their life 
record : 

Elnatbsn Jone6 : pickerel, 3000 ; percli, 3000; trout, 200; bass, 
100 ; largest pickerel, lbs. ; largest bass, 6 lbs. At one lucky trip 
the average weight of the perch, lbs., several weighing 2 lbs. ; 
foxes, 30 ; gray squirrels, 200. 

Hiram Hapgood in ten years: bass, 20 ; pickerel, 200 ; perch, 400 ; 
pouts, 100 ; crows, 1. 

J. K. W. Wetherbee : bass, 10 ; pickerel, 1000 ; perch, 2000 ; pouts, 
2500 ; gray squirrels, 500 ; raccoon, 1 ; hawk, five feet across from tip 
to tip. 

Swift Fletcher: pickerel, 3000 ; the largest number at any one time, 
167; pouts, 2500; bass, 100 (three weighing over 4 lbs., not one over 
5 lbs.); foxes, 100; raccoons, 7 ; (lucks, 30; gray squirrels, 600; sold 
105 skins one year for a robe for Captain Whitcomb ; partridges, 2000 ; 
rabbits, 1000 ; pigeons, 4O0 ; Otter, 1. 

Fifty years ago pigeons were abundant in the woods, 
and during some seasons made it lively for the hunts- 
men, who would have great sport in shooting them 
upon the wing as they flew in flocks over certain lo- 
calities. 

The pigeon-stands were quite common, where, by 
nets and proper baiting, they could be caught in large 
numbers. 

The stocking of Nagog Pond a few years since by 
the town with bass has introduced a new variety in 
the fishing sport. 

On the 1st of July, when the permit is issued for 
trying the luck on these delightful waters, there is a 
decided fish smell in this vicinity. The most sober 
men in town — deacons, ministers, lawyers, justices of 
the peace, senators and representatives — doctors — the 
moderator himself — may be seen rigging their poles 
and reeling to and fro — with their lines, if per- 
chance, they may strike the spot where they are sure 
of a prize. 

Just watch the justice a moment. He is leaning 
over the boat. He hears the click of the reel as his 
line spins out through the ruffled waters. What are 
all his cases in court now '? There is only one case 
on the docket just now, and that must have all the 
nerve and muscle. You may laugh at him and call 
him a fool, and off his base ; but the question fairly 
holding the court is, bass or no bass. 




CAPT. DANIEL TUTTLE. 



ACTON. 



The 19th of April, 1801.— Again the historic day 
returns, rich with its patriotic memories. We hail 
its presence as we would that of an old and endeared 
friend come back to the family hearthstone. It re- 
calls events which should never be forgotten while 
the government remains or its annals stand upon the 
imperishable record. 

In the War of the Revolution, without the 19th of 
April, there might never have been the 17th of June, 
and without the 17th of June there might never have 
been the 4th of July, and without the 4th of July the 
stars and stripes would never have floated o'er land 
and sea to the joy of many generations. To the citi- 
zens of Acton and vicinity this day has been for over 
a hundred years, of all other days in the year, the 
most marked. Its yearly advent has been celebrated 
with new and old rehearsals of what occurred at the 
North Bridge at Concord, with the ringing of bells, 
the firing of salutes, the parade of military, orations, 
bonfires and general glorification. The old patriots 
who were at the bridge in 1775, when Captain Davis 
fell at the head of his command, have told it to their 
children and their children's children. The monu- 
ment which stands upon the village green is but an 
embodiment, in solid native granite, of the sentiment 
which has thus been alive among these hills and val- 
leys for over a hundred years. 

When the telegram came to Captain Daniel Tuttle, 
on the evening of April 15th, to have his company 
report the next morning at Lowell, armed and equip- 
ped for war service, it found a response prompt and 
earnest from every man. 

Though scattered in different towns, and not ex- 
pecting the summons, the bells were rung in the 
night, messengers sent in all directions post-haste, 
equipments forwarded, carriages procured, overcoats 
provided — for it was a cold, cheerless April night — 
and at 7.30 o'clock on the morning of April 16th, 
Captain Tuttle was able to report to Col. Jones, of the 
Sixth Regiment, his whole command ready for duty. 

Farms, shops, stores, homes, families, friends, plans, 
had been left behind in an instant, and they were on 
their way to destinies which none could foretell. 
They had played the soldier on the parade-ground in 
peaceful days, in holiday attire. It now meant busi- 
ness. The country was in a death-struggle all at once. 
Its very capitol was in danger of capture or destruc- 
tion by rebel hands. 

Captain Daniel Tuttle was born February 14, 1814, 
on the heights which overlook the village and town, 
one of the oldest of a large family of children. His 
father, Francis Tuttle, Esq., was for a long time an 
officer and influential citizen of the place. The cap- 
tain was elected to command the Davis Guards in the 
years 1855, 1857, 1859, 1861. He was twice postmas- 
ter. He was forty-seven years old at the outbreak of 
the war, and exempt by age from military duty. He 
was a Breckenridge Democrat in the preceding can- 
vass for the Presidency against Lincoln. He had at 



283 

the time a large farm on his hands, a wife and numer- 
ous children — some of them young. 

At the opening of a new season, and with all his 
cares so pressing, it seemed impossible for him to 
leave; yet when the summons came there was but 
one decision. When seated in his wagon, just as he 
was about to leave, he said to family, neighbors and 
townsmen, as a parting word, "God take care of you 
all." 

In those dark, ominous moments of suspense, the 
appearance of the old Sixth Regiment in Boston, in 
the early morning after the evening's summons, and 
its steady march down Washington Street, with knap- 
sacks, overcoats, flashing bayonets and beating drums, 
on their way to the seat of war, and the cheering 
and almost frenzied crowds which accompanied every 
step, was a scene which it is worth a life to witness. 
No one not present can know the enthusiasm of that 
occasion. 

Their march down Broadway, New York, was a 
repetition of the same scene, only on a grander scale, 
and in a city whose citizens were not supposed to be 
so largely in sympathy with the soldier. The appear- 
ance of the old Sixth Massachusetts in their streets, 
made up of all parties, and with each man's life of- 
fered for sacrifice, united the divided city, and they 
became as one man in saying "The Union shall be 
preserved." The passage through Philadelphia was 
in the night, or there would have been another repe- 
tition of the same boundless cheer and God speed the 
right, from the surging crowds of that ever loyal city. 

Baltimore was reached on the 19th of April. It 
was the North Bridge of division between the 
contending sections of the land. The city overflowed 
with bitterness, and cursing against the Union, and 
the men who came to defend her. 

"On this morning," says the historian, " the streets 
were filled with a scowling, angry mob, as the cars, 
eleven in all, containing the Sixth Massachusetts 
Regiment, rolled into town. The cars were drawn by 
horses across the city from one railroad to another. 
As they penetrated farther into the city the crowd be- 
came more dense, and the faces grew blacker with 
hate. Stones, brickbats and all kinds of missiles 
were thrown through the windows of the cars. At 
first the soldiers bore it patiently and without resist- 
ance, until all but two of the cars reached the station. 
These two, separated from the others, were surrounded 
by a yelling crowd, that opposed their passage. The 
officers consulted and concluded to disembark the 
men and march them in solid column to the station. 
The brave fellows went on through a shower of stones, 
bricks and scattering shots. 

" At last, just before they reached the station, the 
colonel gave orders to fire. The soldiers discharged their 
guns among the crowd and several of the mob fell 
dead or wounded. The troops reached the station and 
took the cars. The scene that ensued was terrific. 
Taunts, clothed in the most offensive language, were 



284 



hurled at the troops by the panting crowd, who, breath- 
less with running, pressed to the windows, presenting 
knives and revolvers and cursing up into the laces of 
the soldiers. Amid such a scene the Massachusetts 
regiment passed out of the city, having had four of 
their number killed and thirty-six wounded. 

"On this very day, the 19th of April, eighty-six 
years before, the first blood shed in the war of the 
Revolution had stained the grass in front of Lexing- 
ton meeting-house, and on the Concord plains. 

" On the second anniversary, long to be remembered, 
the first blood in the Civil War flowed in the streets of 
Baltimore, shed from the veins of the descendants of 
these early patriots." 

The Davis Guards received at home, on their 
return, Aug. 10, 1861. The Davis Guards arrived at 
South Acton at about 8.30 o'clock, Saturday morning. 
A large crowd had collected to welcome them home. 
After cordial greetings a procession was formed and 
proceeded to the Centre in the following order : Col. 
W. E. Faulkner, chief marshal, assisted by Henry 
Wilder, James Wetherbee and John H. Sanborn ; 
National Band of Worcester ; Union Guards, Capt. A. 
C. Handley, 50 men ; Liberty Guards, Capt. S. Willis, 
40 men ; Drum corps ; Hayward Guards, Capt. Daniel 
Jones, 62 men ; Lowell Brigade Band (this band 
barely escaped with their lives at Baltimore) ; Davis 
Guards, Capt. David Tuttle, 52 men ; Concord Artil- 
lery, Capt. Prescott, 54 men ; Detachment of Concord 
Artillery, with field-pieces, Capt. M. Hobson, 12 men ; 
Chief Engineers of Concord Fire Department ; Hook- 
and-Ladder Co., Charles Stowell, foreman, 10 men ; 
Independent Engine Co., Jonas Melvin, foreman, 60 
men. 

A little out of the village a procession had been 
formed, under the direction of Samuel Hosmer, Esq., 
of the citizens of Acton and the adjoining towns, 
awaiting the arrival from South Acton. 

Upon the arrival of the military they formed in 
the rear, and were thus escorted into town. Upon 
the arrival of the procession in town it gathered 
around the speaker's stand, when prayer was offered 
by the chaplain. Rev. Alpha Morton, after which Dr. 
John M. Miles, in behalf of the town, welcomed them 
in an eloquent address. This was Responded to in be- 
half of Capt. Tuttle, by Dr. Harris Cowdrey. 

Col. Faulkner made a brief address to the audience. 
About 12.30 o'clock the companies formed into line, 
and marching to the monument, three cheers were 
called for and heartily given for the American flag, 
and at the same time a new, beautiful banner was run 
up to the top of the monument by Willie Boss, from 
which point, as if by magic, it sprang into the air, 
the band playing the " Star Spangled Banner." Hon. 
Charles Hudson, of Lexington, then delivered a very 
able address. 

After an intermission of an hour, sentiments were 
offered by the toast-master, O. W. Mead, Esq. Brief 
addre^es were made by Rev. James Fletcher, of Dan- 



vers (a native of Acton), Hon. E. W. Bull, George 
Stevens, Esq., John White (a member of Davis 
Guards, who fought under the stars and stripes in 
Mexico, who is an Englishman, but when the order 
for marching came, volunteered to go with the Davis 
Guards), Hon. James M. Usher, of Medford, George 
M. Brooks, Esq., of Concord, Capt. Phelps, of Lex- 
ington, and Lieut. Bowers, of the Concord Rifles. 

There were about three thousand people present. 
The route of the procession was handsomely decorated 
with flags and mottoes, as was also the new store of 
James Tuttle & Co., at South Acton. Over the ar- 
mory, " Davis Guards not afraid to go ; " in the town- 
house, " God defend the right;" on the monument, 
" Union, Davis, Hosmer, Hayward ; " at Capt. Daniel 
Jones', "Welcome home;" at Lieut. J. Blodgett's, 
" Honor to the brave ; " at Hon. John Fletcher, Jr.'s, 
" First to go ; " at E. S. Buffum's, " Safe return ; " over 
J. Fletcher & Sons' store, " Through Baltimore." 

A detachment of the Concord Artillery fired a na- 
tional salute on the arrival of the Guards at South 
Acton, also as the procession reached the centre of 
the town. 

The Civil War. 1 — The existence of a military 
company in Acton at the outbreak of the Rebellion 
was of great advantage to the town. 

In 1850, on the seventy-fifth anniversary of Con- 
cord Fight, a union celebration took place at Con- 
cord, in which the inhabitants of Acton took part. 
A large company from Acton represented the minute- 
men of the Revolution, officered by Colonel Win- 
throp E. Faulkner, as captain, and Daniel Jones, the 
son of Captain Silas Jones, who commanded the 
Davis Blues in Boston in the War of 1812, and James 
Harris as lieutenants. They wore a flannel blouse 
and carried canteens with 1775 stenciled on them as 
uniform, and armed with guns of no particular stand- 
ard, though some of them looked old enough to have 
been at the original Concord Fight ; but the contents 
of some of the canteens, judging of its potency, was 
of a later period. 

The marching of this company elicited warm en- 
comiums from military men present, and the result 
was a reawakening of interest in military matters in 
Acton and the permanent organizing of Company E, 
Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, known as the Davis 
Guards, the following winter. 

Colonel Faulkner was the first captain of this com- 
pany, and its other commanding officers till the out- 
break of the Rebellion are here given : Captain Dan- 
iel Jones, Rufus Holden, Captain Moses Taylor, Cap- 
tain Daniel Tuttlle, Captain Aaron C. Handley, and 
again Captain Tuttle who was still at its head in 1861. 

In obedience to General Order No. 4,. issued by 
Governor Andrew, January 16, 1861, requiring the 
militia of the State to be forthwith put into a state of 
efficiency, this company practiced at drill every 



i From an address by Luther Conant, Esq., before the Grand Army. 



ACTON. 



280 



week during the winter and recruited its ranks' to be 
ready to answer any call. On the 19th of January, 
at a meeting of the field officers and company com- 
manders, at the American House in Lowell, it was 
unanimously voted to tender the services of the 
Sixth Massachusetts Regiment to the Governor and 
Legislature when such services shall become desir- 
able for purposes contemplated in General Order No. 4. 

On the 28d of January the Legislature proffered to 
the President of the United States such aid in men 
and money as he he may require to maintain the au- 
thority of the National Government. This resolution 
was forwarded the same day to the President. 

The result of this act of volunteering was that the 
Sixth Regiment was the first regiment called, and 
General Butler was the first to receive a commission 
as a general officer of volunteers. 

Many have never been able to understand how a 
regiment from Massachusetts should have reached 
Washington in advance of nearer States. 

The circumstances of the transmission of the order 
are given somewhat in detail. The proclamation of 
President Lincoln calling for 75,000 men, and convok- 
ing an extra session of Congress was dated April 15th, 
but did not reach Boston until the 16th and was not 
received at Albany until the 17th, receiving from the 
Governor of New York on the 19th the response by 
telegram to the President that the Seventh would 
start for Washington that evening. 

On the 15th of April Governor Andrew received 
a telegram from Senator Henry Wilson announcing the 
call for troops. 

The Governor at once issued his Special Order No. 
14, commanding the colonels of the Third, Fourth, 
Sixth and Eighth Regiments forthwith to muster their 
commands in uniform on Boston Common, and sent 
it by special messengers. Colonel Jones, who was 
in Boston, received his order first, took it to Brigadier- 
General Butler for regular transmission and issued 
his orders the same day by telegraph to the Lowell 
and Lawrence companies of the Sixth and took the 
four o'clock train on the Fitchburg Railroad to carry 
the order to the companies in Acton and Groton to 
assemble in Huntington Hall in Lowell on the morn- 
ing of the Kith at seven o'clock — uniformed and ready 
to proceed to Washington. 

Colonel Jones, on his trip to Groton, met Captain 
A. C. Handley in the railroad station at South 
Acton, who immediately started with the order to 
Captain Tuttle. 

Late in the afternoon of the 15th Captain Daniel 
Tuttle was chosen in town-meeting to an important 
office. On being requested by the moderator to be 
sworn as usual, he declined for the reason that he 
was liable to be sent out of the State with his com- 
pany any day. 

In a little more than an hour the summons came, 
Captain Tuttle started immediately for Lowell and 
messengers were sent at once to rally the absent men. 



Captain A. C. Handley went to Leominster to notify 
the Wilder Brothers and returned with them on time. 

Other messengers were sent in different directions, 
and at two o'clock in the morning of the 16th the bells 
of the town-house and church were rung, calling the 
people of Acton to witness the departure of that mil- 
tary company which was the first in this or any other 
State to leave their homes in response to the Presi- 
dent's call. 

The company reached Lowell before the hour 
named, 7 a.m. on the morning of the 16th, and with 
the other companies of the regiment were dispatched 
to Boston during the day. Its departure to Washing- 
ton was delayed somewhat by reason that it was late 
on the morning of the 16th that Governor Andrew 
decided to attach to the Sixth Regiment Companies 
L and R, from Stoneham and Boston. 

The regiment left Boston about sunset on the even- 
ing of the 17th, and reached New York the next 
morning and Philadelphia the next afternoon. It 
left Philadelphia at one on the morning of the 19th, 
and, had there been no delay, would have passed 
through Baltimore early in the morning and probably 
without opposition; but the train carrying the Sixth 
was a very long one, and the passage of the Susque- 
hanna (then made by ferry) consumed so much time 
and the slow rate of speed owing to the length of the 
train delayed its arrival at Baltimore until ten o'clock 
in the forenoon. 

At that time each separate car was drawn through 
the streets of the city by strings of horses, and thus 
the different companies of the regiment became sep- 
arated. 

The first six companies, including Company E 
(Davis Guards), passed through without serious molesta- 
tion, but the remaining five companies were attacked 
by the mob, through which they gallantly forced their 
way, though not without thirty-six of the men re- 
ceiving gun shot wounds and the loss of four soldiers 
killed. 

In the long procession of fallen patriots who were 
to pass forward and onward to eternity from the bat- 
tle-fields of the Rebellion, these four Massachusetts 
soldiers led the way. 

Leaving Baltimore about two o'clock the Sixth 
reached Washington — forty miles distant — late in the 
afternoon, and were received by General McPowell, of 
General Scott's staff, and were assigned quarters in 
the Senate chamber in the Capitol, where they re- 
mained about twelve days. 

The regiment, aided by a part of the Eighth Regiment 
and a battery, the whole under the command of Gen- 
eral Butler, then went back and re-opened the route 
through Baltimore, staying there some ten days, and * 
were detailed to guard the junction of the main track 
of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at the Washing- 
ton branch, at the Relay House, where they remained 
till the expiration of their service. 

At this time detachments were sent to Baltimore — 



280 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



one to arrest Marshal Ham and another to capture a 
noted rebel who was wanted at Fortress Monroe. 

The regiment was mustered in at Washington 
April 22d, and discharged August 2d, being absent 
from home about 115 days. The term of service, 
though brief, is assured a high place in history. This 
regiment was the first to leave home and the first to 
be attacked. It received a vote of thanks from the first 
session of the Thirty-seventh Congress for the alacrity 
with which they responded to the call of the President, 
and for the bravery and patriotism which they dis- 
played on the 19th of April in fighting their way 
through Baltimore on their march for the defence of 
the national Capitol. 

In his order dismissing the regiment Governor 
Andrew said: "Its gallant conduct has reflected new 
lustre on the Commonwealth, and has given new his- 
toric interest to the 19th of April. It will be re- 
ceived by our people with warm hearts and generous 
hands." Of the fifty-two men who went out under 
Captain Tuttle, twenty-seven are now living. 

Shortly after the return home of the Sixth Regiment, 
Colonel Jones commenced to recruit a regiment of 
three years' men, to be numbered the Sixth Massachu- 
setts. -It was not till the ranks were full and it was 
nearly ready to leave for the seat of war that Gover- 
nor Andrew decided to retain the old Sixth as a militia 
regiment, to be called upon in cases of special 
urgency. 

The new regiment was numbered the Twenty-Sixth, 
Most of the officers and many of the men of the old 
Sixth had enlisted for three years, and were enrolled 
in the Twenty-sixth. Captain Tuttle's health not per- 
mitting him to return to the war, William H. Chap- 
man, lieutenant of Company E, old Sixth, became 
captain of Company E, Twenty-sixth Regiment, 
and twenty members of the old company enlisted 
in the new one. This regiment was mustered into 
the service of the United States October 18,1861, 
and left the State November 21st, same year, taking 
passage on the steamship "Constitution" to Ship 
Island, on the coast of Louisiana, and remained at 
Ship Island about tour months. 

At that time the fleet under Commodores Farragut 
and Porter, bombarded Forts St. Philip and Jackson, 
on the Mississippi River, and the Twenty-sixth Regi- 
ment moved in rear of the forts in readiness to assault, 
but the surrender of the forts avoided the necessity 
of an attack, and saved many valuable lives. 

After the surrender the regiment garrisoned the 
forts about four months, and then was ordered to New 
Orleans for provost duty. It remained there about a 
year, then started with General Banks on the expedi- 
tion up the Red River as far as Opelousas; then or- 
dered back to New Iberia, where about three-fourths 
of the company re-enlisted, and were given a fur- 
lough, commencing April 4, 1864, of one month, to 
visit their friends at home. Upon the expiration of 
the furlough the regiment was ordered to return to 



New Orleans, La., which journey was made on steam- 
ship "Cahawha" and arrived at its destination May 
20th. 

After occupying Carrollton and Morganza, it re- 
turned to New Orleans, and on July 11th embarked 
on steamer "Charles Thomas" for Bermuda Hun- 
dred, Va., which place was reached the 21st of July. 
On the 28th the regiment marched to Deep Bottom, 
Va., where considerable picket firing took place, but 
no casualties happened. Subsequently the regiment 
was ordered to Washington, D. C., and then marched 
through a portion of Maryland to the valley of the 
Shenandoah River, reaching Winchester on the morn- 
ing of the battle of September 19, 1864. The battle 
commenced about 10 o'clock in the forenoon and 
lasted till 5 p.m, when the enemy retreated. The 
regiment, being in the lead, advanced too far without 
proper support, and found itself with the enemy not 
only in front, but on both flanks, and, being thus ex- 
posed to a severe cross-fire, suffered severely, Company 
E having seven men killed or mortally wounded. Of 
the four months' men who went into the battle, at its 
close only twenty-three were fit for duty. The battle 
of Fisher's Hill took place three days later. 

On October 18th the three years' term of service of 
that portion of the regiment that did not enlist hav- 
ing expired, the regiment was consolidated into a 
battalion of five companies by Special Order. No. 64, 
and those whose term of enlistment had expired were 
separated from their comrades who had re-enlisted. 
In the battle of the following day, let it be said to the 
credit of many of those discharged men, though under 
no obligation to do so, they gallantly again entered 
the ranks, fought all day and helped to change a tem- 
porary defeat into a glorious victory. 

I am sorry to say that this voluntary act of patriot- 
ism cost some of these noble men their lives. Corporal 
Loker tells me that after the fight he helped to bury 
two men killed in the action whose term of service 
had expired before the battle. 

On October 19th the rebel army surprised the 
Union troops at Cedar Creek, driving them back four 
miles in confusion. This was the scene of Sheridan's 
famous ride from " Winchester, twenty miles away," 
though, as a matter of fact, the Union troops had 
made a stand before his arrival. The remarks he 
made to his men greatly inspirited them, though it 
is not probable that these remarks will ever take a 
place in polite literature. 

The results of the battle of Cedar Creek were the 
capture of nearly all of the rebel baggage-train and 
field artillery, and the complete dispersion of Early's 
forces. The battalion remained at Winchester dur- 
ing the winter, were ordered to Washington May 2d, 
and one month later were sent to Savannah, Ga., 
where they remained until August 26, 1865, when the 
battalion was mustered out of service; left Savannah 
September 12th, and reached Boston September 18th ; 
were sent to Gallop's Island for final payment, and 




MEMORIAL LIBRARY. 1890. 



ACTON. 



L'S7 



reached Acton the evening of October 21, 1865, after 
an absence of four years and three days. 

In the narrative of Company E, Twenty-sixth Regi- 
ment, I stated that Governor Andrew decided to retain 
the Sixth as a militia regiment to answer sudden calls. 
In response to such a call it left the State August 31, 
1862, to serve for nine months under Colonel Albert 
S. Follansbee, of Lowell. Company E, of Acton, was 
officered as follows: Aaron C. Handley, captain; 
Aaron S. Fletcher and George W. Rand, lieutenants ; 
Dr. Isaiah Hutchins, hospital steward for the regi- 
ment. 

Captain Handley had commanded the Davis 
Guards some years before the war. His grandfather 
had served in the Revolutionary War and his father 
did military duty in the War of 1812. 

The regiment was ordered to proceed to Suffolk, 
Virginia, near Fortress Monroe. It assisted in the 
construction of Forts Nansemond and McLellan. The 
regiment was detailed for guard duty in the forts, 
afterwards for scouting duty and destroying rebel 
railroads, among which were the Norfolk and Peters- 
burg Railroad and the Seaboard and Roanoke. 

The regiment took part in several battles and skir- 
mishes. Among these may be mentioned the Deserted 
House, Carrsville and Ludlow Lawrence's home. In 
these actions the Sixth had twenty-seven men killed 
and wounded. No casualties in Acton company, 
though that company lost three men by disease. The 
regiment was mustered out June 3, 1863. 

The services of the old Sixth were required for the 
third and last time during the war, for a term of 
enlistment of one hundred days, commencing July 18, 
1864. 

Col. Follansbee again led the regiment, and Co. E, 
Davis Guards, of Acton, was under the following list 
of officers : Frank M. Whitcomb, who was orderly ser- 
geant during the nine months' term of service in 1861 
and 1863,. was captain, with George W. Knight and 
Isaiah Hutchins as lieutenants. The regiment was 
ordered to proceed to Washington, D. C, and marched 
to Arlington Heights and performed fatigue duty in 
front of Fort Stevens for two or three weeks. This 
fatigue duty consisted in leveling the ground and fell- 
ing trees to give greater range and efficiency to the 
great guns of the fort. After this time it was ordered 
to garrison Fort Delaware and to guard the rebel 
prisoners in the fort. After a useful but uneventful 
term of service it was mustered out, Oct. 27th, and re- 
turned home. 

Of the one hundred men in Captain Whitcomb's 
company, twenty-nine were from Acton. No casual- 
ties or deaths occurred during this enlistment. 

The official military record of the town of Acton re- 
ports as sent to the army during the War of the Rebel- 
lion 215 different men, including twenty commissioned 
officers. The adjutant-general's report for 1865 states 
that at the close of the war she had answered all calls 
required to fill her quota, and had a surplus of thirty 



men to her credit. The number of commissioned offi- 
cers was exceptionally large. No Acton-born soldier, 
credited to her quota, deserted, or failed to receive an 
honorable discharge. 

The recruiting committee of the town were the 
selectmen : James E. Billings, J. K. W. Wetherbee and 
Jonas K. Putney, with an assistant committee of 
three : Daniel Wetherbee, Capt. A. C. Handley and 
Varnum B. Mead. 

Four brothers enlisted from one family, and the 
head of that family a widow, Mrs. Abram Handley. 
Though one of these brothers (Frank) died eaily in 
the war, and another (George) was discharged for dis- 
ability, their combined terms of service were more 
than ten years. 

Mr. Wheeler's three sons all enlisted. In six other 
cases, two brothers were in the ranks together, and in 
one both father and son, William and William B. 
Reed, were in the service at the same time. a 

Luke Smith was credited three times to the quota 
of the town, whose father, Solomon Smith, marched 
over the same road under Captain Isaac Davis to the 
old North Bridge that his son, Luke, followed in part 
under Captain Daniel Tuttle, eighty-four years later. 
Mr. Smith was the oldest soldier credited to Acton's 
quota, having at his last enlistment (for one hundred 
days) in 1864, reached the age of more than fifty 
years. 

Thomas Kinsley, Jr., was the youngest recruit, being 
but fifteen years and two months old at the time of 
his enlistment. 

Of the 216 men credited to Acton, eighteen died 
while in service, either killed in battle or victims of 
disease. This does not include natives or residents 
of Acton, who were credited to other towns, who died 
in service. 

Memorial Library. — This memorial structure, 
just completed, stands upon the north side of the 
Main Street at the Centre, nearly opposite the Davis 
Monument. It has an' ideal location, partially 
shaded by the elms and maples, which give it a 
classic repose even at the start. 

Its. approach is by an easy ascent from the east, 
south and west, over concrete walks. It is a few rods 
northeast of the Town House, with which it is con- 
nected by concrete and a fine lawn, a site known for 
over sixty years as the Fletcher Homestead. It is the 
most unique and costly building ever erected in town, 
and is destined to be the centre of culture for many 
generations to come. 

The style of architecture is Romanesque. The ex- 
ternal appearance and the internal arrangements and 
furnishings are in harmony with this idea, and can be 
properly judged only from that standpoint. The 
architects are H. W. Hartwell and William G. Rich- 
ardson, of Boston. The building is composed of red 
brick and brownstone. 

Its extreme length is sixty-six feet six inches and 
its depth thirty-two feet and ten inches from south to 



288 



north. The principal entrance opens upon the south 
and through a large, solid freestone arch, which has 
rich mouldings and carved spandrels, within which 
are to be placed memorial tablets to the soldiers in 
the War of the Rebellion, of which this town furnished 
a large number. On entering the building, a reading- 
room, called the Memorial Room, sixteen by twenty- 
five feet, is found at the left. It has heavy beamed 
ceiling, a large antique brick fire-place and decorated 
walls. Above the fire-place is a handsome brown- 
stone tablet, with this carved inscription : 

" This building a gift to his native town by 
William Allen Wilde." 

The room has rich oak tables, settees and 
chairs, all in the olden style. Opposite the read- 
ing-room, and at the right, is the book apartment, 
thirty-two feet six inches long, twenty-four 
feet six inches wide, twenty feet high. Along the 
sides of this are arranged book alcoves, two stories 
high, having light connecting galleries for the second 
tier, reached by stairs at the right and left of the 
desk occupied by the librarian. The desk is so lo- 
cated that the person in charge of it can command a 
view of the book-room and the reading room also, 
this latter opening into the central reading space by 
a large open archway. Located at the north of this 
central hall is the room devoted to the library trus- 
tees, thirteen by fifteen feet, with a northern light, 
richly furnished. Opening out of this is a fire-proof 
vault, where articles of value and the archives of the 
town can be stored. In the opposite corner is a 
toilet-room, fitted up with all modern conveniences. 
All the spaces and rooms are brilliantly lighted from 
chandeliers, and heated by two large furnac es in the 
cellar, which is by itself quite an institution — ce- 
mented, drained and plastered. The water arrange- 
ments are quite a specialty, embracing a tank in the 
attic, which can be easily filled by a force-pump 
connecting with a well that belonged to the estate, 
seventy-five feet deep, the' bottom of which is a solid 
ledge, containing an unfailing spring of the purest 
and coolest water. 

The corporators of the library under the charter 
are Luther Conant, Adelbert Mead, Moses Taylor, 
. Hiram J. Hapgood, Delette H. Hall and Daniel 
James Wetherbee. These are constituted trustees 
for life, with power to fill vacancies in case of death 
or resignation of any one of their number. Three 
additional trustees are to be chosen by the town, one 
for three years, one for two years and one for one 
year. 

In the future, after the organization, the town is to 
elect by ballot each year one trustee of the three, 
elective for three years. 

Mr. Wilde's letter presenting Memorial Library 
Building to the town of Acton : 

" Malpen, Mass., Feb. 27, 1890. 

" To the Selectmen of Acton : 

" Gentlemen, — For a long time past it lias been my intention, if ever 
I was able to do so, to remember my native town by the gift of some mem- 



orial to the memory of those brave ami patriotic men of Acton who so 
freely gave time, strength and health— and many of them their lives— 
in the War of the Rebellion, 1801-65. 

" To carry out this plan in what seemed to me the most advantageous 
and permanent method possible, I have purchased the estate of ReT. 
James Fletcher, adjacent to the Town-House, and erected thereon a 
Memorial Library, placing upon its Bhelves some four thousand volumes, 
more or less, and I beg the privilege of presenting this property to the 
town as a free gift, only stipulating that it shall rorever be kept as a 
Memorial Library, and free to all the citizens of the patriotic old town 
of Acton, which I shall always love and be proud of. 

" If it shall please the town to accept this gift I shall be glad to pass 
all necessary papers for the transfer of the property to whom and at 
such time as the town shall direct. 

" I am, gentlemen, yours truly, 

" William A.' Wilde." 

Upon reading this letter, by Mr. Howard B. White, 
chairman of the Board of Selectmen, to the citizens of 
Acton, in tewn-meeting assembled, .March 3, 1890, 
Rev. James Fletcher presented the following resolu- 
tions, which were unanimously adopted by the town, 
to be forwarded to Mr. Wilde in response, and to be 
placed upon the town records: 

" Whereas a charter of Incorporation has passed the Lei^islature and 
been signed by his Excellency Gov. J. Q. A. Brackett incorporating the 
Memorial Library, and Hon. William A. Wilde, a native of Acton — now 
a resident of Maiden— has signified his readiness to deed to the town the 
Memorial Library Building just completed at his expense, and the laud 
on which it stands, and all the appurtenances thereof, including books 
already selected, the Memorial Room and the town-vault for the arch- 
ives of the town, — 

"Resolved 1st, We, the inhabitants of the town of Acton, in town- 
nieeting assembled, do accept the trust and authorize the Selectmen, in 
behalf of the town, to sign all papers and perform all acts necessary to 
complete the transfer of the property to the care of the trustees. 

" Resolved 2d, In passing this vote we wish to express to Mr. Wilde — 
in behalf of the present inhabitants of the town ; in behalf of all future 
generations who may be resident here, and participants in the benefits 
to be enjoyed ; in behalf of the soldiers of the War of the Rebellion, 
whose memory and valor he has so tenderly cherished in the name and 
arrangement of the structure — our profound appreciation of his gener- 
ous gift." 

" We assure him of our hearty thanks for remembering the place ot 
his birth by a memento so enduring and so befitting the past history and 
future needs of the town. 

"We assure him or our cordial co-operntion in doing what in us lies 
to perpetuate the intentions and possibilities of the trust. 

" We tender to him, his companion and his children our best wishes 
for their life, health and prosperity, and our prayer that the douation, in 
whieh they each have a personal share and honor, may contribute to 
their mutual and lasting enjoyment." 

The selectmen and the whole Board of Trustees 
were authorized to make all necessary arrangements 
for the dedication of the building. 

The trustees chosen by the town at the March 
meeting, 1890, are the following : William D. Tuttle 
for three years, James Fletcher for two years, Howard 
B. White for one year. 

Mr. William Allen Wilde, the donor, was born in 
Acton, Mass., July 11, 1827. He is now resident in 
Maiden, Mass., and does business as a publisher, his 
office being at 25 Bromfield Street, Boston. His father, 
Joseph Wilde, lived in Southeast Acton, married 
Sarah Conant, of Stow, sister to Abraham and Simeon 
Conant, of Acton. He died in Acton, in the eighty- 
second year of his age. Their children were : Mary, 
now living in Moultonboro', N. H.; Silvia, deceased ; 
Sarah, living with Mary ; John, who was drowned ; 




HON. WM. A.. WILDE. 



ACTON. 



289 



Joseph, living in Natick, with seven children and 
prospering in business ; Willliam A.; and George, 
living in Somerville. 

Benjamin 1 , tlie father of Joseph Wild 5 , died when 
fifty-six years old, of yellow fever. He married Sil- 
via Thayer, of Boston. She died two days after her 
husband and was buried in Acton. Her daughter, 
Silvia, died of yellow fever two days after her mother 
and was buried in Acton. 

William Wild', the father of Benjamin 4 , lived in 
Randolph, Mass., and died when eighty-seven years 
old. 

William 2 , the father of William 3 , lived in Brain- 
tree, Mass., and died in his eighty-seventh year. 

William Wild 1 , the father of William 2 , landed 
from England in 1632, and lived in Randolph, Mass., 
which was then a part of Braintree. 

William A. Wilde 6 , the sou of Joseph Wild 5 , 
married, first, Loise A. Mace, of Pepperell, Mass., 
without issue. Married, second, Lydia Jane Bride, of 
Berlin, Mass. Children : Jennie, born September 7, 
1854, deceased at sixteen years of age; Carrie, born 
October 12, 1856, deceased at seven years of age ; Wil- 
liam Eugene, born in Acton September 12, 1858, mar- 
ried, in 1885, Effie Jean Dresser, of Portland, Me. Mar- 
ried, third, Celestia Dona Hoyt, of Wentworth, N. H. 
Children : Alice Elizabeth, born June 12, 1869 ; Al- 
len Hoyt, born April 29, 1874. 

Mr. Wilde was educated at Groton and Pepperell 
Academies. He has taught school twelve years, been 
superintendent of the schools of the city of Maiden ; 
five years chairman of the Water Board when large 
and expensive water-works were being constructed. 

He represented Maiden two years in the Legisla- 
ture, and was chairman of the House Committee of 
Education. He has been trustee of the Maiden Li- 
brary eight years, and is now one of the Prison 
Commissioners of the State of Massachusetts. 

Our Honored Dead (Tablet List). 

BY JULIAN TUTTLE. 

Luke W. Bowers; he enlisted in Aug., 1862, Co. E, 33d Mass. Reg. ; died 

of wounds May 1, 1864, at Resaca, Georgia. 
Albert Conant, enlisted Dec., 1861, in Co. F, 30th Mass. Reg. ; he died 

at sea Jan., 1864, on the voyage home. 
Elbridge Conant, enlisted Aug. 18, 1862, in Co. E, 6th Mass. Reg. ; died 

Feb., 1863, at Suffolk, Va. 
Eugene L. Hall, enlisted Feb.,' 1864, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; killed 

Sept., 1864, at Winchester, Va. 
Frank Handley, enlisted Sept., 1861, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; died 

July, 1862, at Fort St. Philip, near New Orleans, La. 
Augustus W. Hostner, enlisted Sept., 1861, in 26th Mass. Reg. ; band; 

died Nov., 1861, at Acton, Mass. 
Eli Huggins, enlisted Sept., 1861, in Co. A, 26th Mass. Reg. ; died Oct , 

1863. at New Orleans, La. 
Samuel C. Hanscom, enlisted Dec, 1862, in Co. A, 2d Mass. Cavalry ; 

killed July, 1864, at Aldie, Va. 
James P. Hanscom, enlisted May, 1861, in Co. E, 1st Minnesota Reg.; 

died Nov., 1862, at Portsmouth Grove, R. I. 
John A. Howard, enlisted Aug., 1862, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; died 

Dec, 186.3, at New Orleans, La. 
John S. Harris, enlisted June, 1861, in Co. F, 11th Maes. Reg. ; killed 

May, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Va. 
Francis Kinsley, enlisted Sept., 1861, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; died 

April, 1861, at Acton, Mass. 

19 



Thomas Kinsley, Jr., enlisted Feb., 18G4, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg.; 

died Nov., 1864, at Washington, D. C. 
Georgo Warren Knight, enlisted Oct., 1862, in Co. E, 53d Mass. Reg. ; 

died April, 1863, at New Orleans, La. 
Henry W. Lazoll, enlisted Sept., 1861, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; died 

Aug , 18G3, at New Orleans, La. 
James R Leutell, enlisted Sept., 1861, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; died 

Nov., 1862, at New Orleans, La. 
William H. Loker, enlisted in Sept., 1861, in Co. E , 26th Mass. Reg. ; 

died April, 1863, at Acton, Mass. 
Marivan Miner, enlisted Aug., 1862, in Co. I, 26th Mass. Reg. ; died 

Feb., 1863, at New Orleans, La. 
Matthew McKinney, enlisted Aug., 1863, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; 

died Sept., 1863, at Berwick City, La. 
William B. Reed, enlisted Au<., 1862, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; died 

Jan., 1864, at Franklin, La. 
Warren R. Wheeler, enlisted Sept., 1861, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg. ; 

died July, 1862, at Fort St. Philip, near New Orleans, La. 
James M. Wright, enlisted Nov., 1861, in Co. B, 32d Mass. Reg. ; died 

Sept., 1862, at Philadelphia, Penn. 
John II. P. White, enlisted Sept., 1863, in Co. E, 26th Mass. Reg- ; died 

July, 1863, at New Orleans, La. 
Samuel E. Wilson, enlisted in 1864, in Co. K, 7th California Reg. ; died 

Feb., 186*1, at Fort Yuma, Cal. 
Daniel A. Loverlng, enlisted Aug., 18G2, in Co. H, 13th Mass. Reg. ; 

killed June, 1864, at Cold Harbor, Va. 
Luke Robbins, enlisted iu Boston, Mass., June, 1864, as a seaman for 

two years; served on board the "Ohio" and " Seminole ; " was 

killed on the "Seminole" at Galveston, Texas, May, 1865. 
Frank J. Barker, enlisted in Co. C, 118th 111. Reg., Aug., 1862 ; died at 

Milliken'sBeud, La., April, 1863, aged 19. 
Eben Barker, enlisted in Co. F, 50th 111. Reg., Aug., 1861 ; died at 

Quincy, 111., Jan., 1862, aged 22. 
Cyrus E. Barker, enlisted July, 1861, in Co. H, 13th Mass. Reg. ; dis- 
charged Jan., 1863, for disability; afterwards enlisted in Co. C, 

59th Mass. Reg. Ho was at the battle at Weldon Railroad ; was 

taken prisoner, and after seven months was exchanged ; died at 

Annapolis, Md., April, 1865, aged 22. 

The names of Acton men who served in the War of 
the Rebellion, and who survived that war: 

Colonel, William H. Chapman ; Captains, Aaron C. Handley, Daniel 
Tuttle, Frank H. Whitcomb ; Lieutenants, Silas P. Blodgett, Henry 
Brown, Aaron S. Fletcher, Elias E. Haynes, Isaiah Hutchins, George 
Willard Knights, James Moulton, George W. Rand, William F. Wood ; 
Privates, Frank W. Ames, George T. Ames, George E. Barker, John F. 
Blood, Charles H. Blood, George F. Blood, William H. Boss, Henry L. 
Bray, Daniel R. Briggs, Charles A. Brooks, Samuel R. Burroughs, 
Hiram Butten, Patrick Callahan, Geerge Fay Campbell, Waldo Chap- 
lin, William Chaplin, Jr., William D. Clark, Robert C. Conant, Simon 
T. Conant, J. Sherman Conant, John Conway, George B. Cran, John B. 
Cran, Waldo G. Dunn, Oscar Dwelley, Abel Farrar, Jr., Daniel H. Far- 
rar, Winthrop H. Faulkner, James W. Fiske, John W. Fitzpatrick, 
Charles W. Fletcher, Aaron J. Fletcher, Ephraim B. Forbush, Channey 
U. Fuller, Meldon S. Giles, Henry Gilson, Nathan Goes, William B. 
Gray, William H. Gray, Delette H. Hall, George Handley, Charles 
Handley, William S. Handley, Abram Handley, Charles A. Hanscom, 
Marshall Hapgood, Henry napgood, Francis E. Harris, Forestus D. K. 
Hoar, J. Sherman Hoar, Walter 0. Holden, Gilman S. Hosmer, Judson 
A. Huggins, Eri Hoggins, Jr., Sylvanus Hunt, Loring M. Jackson, 
Mortimer Johnson, George A. Jones, Edwin A. Jones, Charles Jones, 
George Jones, Richard Kinsley, Jonathan W. Loker, Emory D. Lothrop, 
Lewis J. Masten, William Morrill, Charles Morse, Charles H. Moulton, 
Albert Moulton, Augustus P. Newton, George B. Parker, Henry D. 
Parliu, George E. Peck, George N. Pierce, George M. Pike, Michael 
Powers, Oscar E. Preston, John Putnam, William Reed, Levi II. Rob- 
bins, Joseph N. Robbins, Elbridge J. Robbins, Luke J. Robbins, Varnum 
F. Robbins, Albert Rouillard, George Rouillard, George W. Sawyer, 
Andrew J. Sawyer, George H. Simpson, Benjamin Skinner, Dennis 
Shohan, Luke Smith, George D. Smith, Silas M. Stetson, Emory A. 
Symonds, Edwin B. Taft, Edwin Tarbell, Daniel G. Taylor, Warren L. 
Teel, Daniel L. Veasey, Robert Wayne, John Wayne, James Wayne, 
Hiram W. Wetherbee, Addison B. Wheeler, Lincoln E. Wheeler, Everett 
Wheeler, William F. B. Whitney, Samuel E. Wilson, James H. Wood, 
Eben F. Wood, Charles H. Young. 



290 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



The Congregational Church. — This church and 
society was launched upon its mission amid great 
religious commotion. The times were full of sharp 
and heated controversy upon doctrinal points. The 
lines were rigidly drawn, and neutrals were at a dis- 
count. 

The worship was first in a chapel, built for the pur- 
pose, now occupied by Mr. Julian Tuttle. This was 
the scene of many earnest gatherings. It was where 
Mr. Woodbury began his most effective preaching, 
and it being a time when all this section of country 
was marked by great religious awakenings, the events 
are easily recalled by those still living, cotempora- 
neous with those early dates. 

The church was organized by a council March 13, 
1832, and a house of worship fifty by forty-four feet, 
built the next year. Many of the importanr. members 
of the old church united with the new in its first forma- 
tion. Rev. James Trask Woodbury was ordained and 
installed March 13, 1832. After preaching twenty 
years, he was dismissed at his own request June 23, 
1852, and was afterwards settled in Milford, Massa- 
chusetts, where he died January 15, 1861, aged fifty- 
eight years. 

Rev. Benjamin Dodge, of Wilton, Maine, was his 
successor. He was installed October 28, 1852, and 
dismissed April 17, 1855. 

Until September, 1855, the church was supplied by 
Rev. Messrs. Alvord and Francis Horton. 

Rev. Charles Rockwell then commenced his labors 
as a stated supply. On his leaving in July, 1856, 
Rev. Martin Moore, of Boston, and others, supplied 
the pulpit until January, 1857, when Rev. Joseph 
Garland was hired two years. 

From January, 1859, to May of the same year the 
pulpit was supplied by various clergymen. 

Rev. Alpha Morton was then engaged for four years 
successively, resigning May 1, 1863, to accept an en- 
gagement with the church at West Auburn, Maine. 

Rev. George Coleman was ordained and installed 
November 12, 1863, and was dismissed in May, 1869. 

The Rev. Franklin P. Wood was ordained July 24, 
1871, and installed as pastor October 10, 1872, and 
dismissed December 17, 18?4. 

During Rev. Mr. Woodbury's pastorate two houses 
of worship were erected. 

The following is a description of the present house 
as found in the church records in Mr. Woodbury's 
handwriting: 

"1847, January 1st. The new meetinghouse erected on the §pot 
where stood the former one was dulj dedicated to Almighty Cod, Son 
and Holy Ghost, Doc. 16, 1846, Wednesday at one o'clock p.m. House 
75 foet by 50, with a basement story of stone with 82 pews; Co6t about 
$6tKX>, exclusive of the fresco painting of the interior and the cushions, 
carpels, lamps, clock, communion table and chairs, Bible and hymn 
hooks, which all cost S70O, and were all absolute gifts to the church and 
the house, not to be put upon the pews. 

"The building Committee were: Dr. J. M. Miles, Samuel Hosmer 
(2 4 ), Simon Tuttle, John P. Buttrlck, Col. Winthrop E. Faulkner, aud 
they did their duty faithfully and are entitled to the lasting gratitude of 
the church." 



More than six hundred different persons have been 
members of this church. 

Some repairs and alterations were made in the 
early part of 1867, and a fine organ introduced at a 
cost of §1320. The deacons and officers of this church, 
have been as follows : Deacons Silas Hosmer and 
Phineas Wheeler, died in 1838, aged sixty-five, chosen 
at the organization ; Deacon Hosmer died in 1872, 
eighty years old ; Deacon Stevens Hayward, chosen 
April 3, 1835, died in 1868, aged eighty-one ; Deacon 
John Fletcher, chosen December 7, 1838, died in 
1879, aged eighty-nine; Deacon Abraham Conant, 
chosen February 3, 1843, died in 1861, aged seventy- 
seven ; Deacon John White, chosen February 3,1843, 
died in 1860, aged seventy-five ; and Deacon Samuel 
Hosmer, Albert Hayward, William W. Davis, and 
Joel F. Hayward, chosen January 1, 1864. 

March, 1885, William Davis Tuttle chosen. He 
has been superintendent of the Sabbath School, also 
Deacon Davis. 

Rev. George M. Stearns is the present pastor, in- 
stalled September 23, 1887. 

Deacon Silas Hosmer was clerk of the church from 
its organization to his death. 

Rev. James T. Woodbury was born in Frances- 
town, New Hampshire, May 9, 1803, and died at Mil- 
ford, Massachusetts, January 16, 1861, aged fifty- 
eight. He married Miss Augusta Porter, of Medford, 
daughter of Jonathan Porter. His father, Honorable 
Peter Woodbury, was a pioneer merchant, and for 
many years a practical farmer in the upper division 
of old Hillsborough County. His father was dis- 
tinguished through his whole life for his strong, plain, 
common sense, great energy of character, as well as 
for his uncompromising integrity. He was for a great 
many years a member of one or the other branches of 
the New Hampshire Legislature, commencing almost 
with the first session after the adoption of the Consti- 
tution by that State and being at the time of his death 
a member of the Senate. His father and his mother, 
whose maiden-name was also Woodbury, were of dif- 
ferent distantly related families of Beverly, of this 
State, and they could both trace their origin to the 
ancient town of Woodbury, in Devonshire, England. 
His mother was a woman of rare ability. James T. 
Woodbury was a younger brother of Honorable Levi 
Woodbury, an eminent jurist and popular and able 
public officer, for years a judge of the United States 
Supreme Court. There were twelve children. James 
T. was graduated at Harvard University in 1823. He 
began a course of legal studies under the direction of 
his distinguished brother at Portsmouth, New Hamp- 
shire; was admitted to the bar in his native state in 
1826. He at once opened an office for practice as a 
lawyer in Bath, Grafton County, New Hampshire. 
No young man for many years had come to the bar 
with fairer prospects. With a thorough education, 
with talents of the highest order, with an unblem- 
ished character, with great natural physical and in- 



REV. JAMES T. WOODBURY. 



ACTON. 



291 



tellectual powers, married to an amiable and highly 
accomplished wife, beloved by a large circle of friends, 
all looked that he should rival the fame of his elder 
brother, who had even then reached the highest 
honors within the gift of his native State. But in the 
midst of his apparent worldly prosperity his ambition 
was suddenly checked and his whole course of life was 
suddenly changed. Under the preaching of the Rev. 
Mr. Sutherland, a Scotch clergyman of Bath, familiarly 
known as Father Sutherland, he became a sincere con- 
vert to the religious creed in which he had been edu- 
cated by his pious and excellent mother. After a 
long struggle with himself, and against the advice and 
remonstrances of many friends, he relinquished his 
profession as a lawyer, and all his hopes and dreams 
of future greatness and worldly glory, and devoted 
himself to a course of theological studies. As soon 
as this course was completed he was ordained over 
the Evangelical Church in Acton, where he remained 
from 1832 to 1852, when he became a pastor of the 
church in Milford, and remained a pastor till the 
time of his death. 

No person could stand for twenty years in any com- 
munity, holding the relations which were held by 
Mr. Woodbury in Acton, without making a deep im- 
pression upon the public mind. He had a personal 
presence, traits of character, mental peculiarities and 
forces, which took him out of the ordinary line of 
influence, so that when he left town, not the parish 
simply, but the whole community and neighboring 
towns felt the change. 

By a large majority this change was lamented and 
is to this day, even by some who were his opponents 
while here. 

As a preacher Mr. Woodbury was especially noted. 
Why so noted ? It was not because of his rare theo- 
logical training. In this he was confessedly deficient, 
and at times even boasted of the fact that he had not 
been to Andover, or any of the other celebrated schools 
of the day. It was not because he had a natural 
theological acumen, which would supplement the de- 
ficiency of school discipline. His most ardent admir- 
ers admitted this, and some were glad of it. It was 
not because of his labored preparations for the Sab- 
bath effort. Few have carried into the pulpit prepa- 
rations apparently so meagre. His discourses were 
seldom written, and when partially so, were for some 
cause the least effective. He had simply the lawyer's 
brief, a small bit of paper, which none but himself 
could decipher, and he with difficulty at times. 

But he had a large, commanding person — a character- 
tic of the Woodbury family. He had a clear-ringing, 
variable voice, which he could modulate to any cir- 
cumstances, grave or comic, to any audience-room, 
large or small. He had a quick, susceptible nature 
which flooded his face with tears, sometimes of tender 
sympathy and sorrow, of sudden humor or contagious 
passion. He would cry when others had no thought 
of it. It was all the same to him. He had a rare gift 



of descriptive narrative. Not often did he finish a dis- 
course, however impressive, without telling some 
anecdotes which, told in his blunt, quaint style, would 
raise a smile through the house and cause one to look 
to his neighbor as if to say, "That is just like him 
and nobody else." He had a fondness for nature in 
all her varied forms, human nature not excepted, 
which, bubbling up like water from a living spring, 
gave a freshness to his words and sentiments and 
bearing before an audience. 

There was a frankness and boldness and what some 
would call a rashness in uttering his convictions which 
provoked approval and opposition, and he did not 
seem to care which. People gave him credit for 
meaning what he said, even if they did not agree 
with him. 

His emotional conception of every subject which he 
treated, whether in the pulpit or on the platform, gave 
him a power which he wielded with wonderful effect 
on great occasions. 

The monument which stands upon our village 
green never would have graced the spot nor extend- 
ed the patriotic fame of the town but for his memora- 
ble address to the Legislature. 

His only enkindled emotions transferred into the 
membership of the House thrilled them for a moment 
into a patriotic ecstasy. 

They could hear again the rattle of the musketry 
at the North Bridge, and the shriek of Captain Davis 
as he fell at the head of the advancing column. 

The 19th of April was back with all its parapher- 
nalia of stir and fire and blood. 

In this gush of excitement it was easy for them to 
vote yea when they had thought and purposed to vote 
nay on the appropriation. 

As a reformer Mr. Woodbury's gifts were conspic- 
uous on the platform. His humor and pathes and 
passion and wit, his bluntness, quaintness and oddi- 
ties, his independent honesty and high purpose gave 
him at one time a foremost rank as an anti-slavery and 
temperance advocate. 

In all the region around about and in many distant 
places his efforts when in happiest moods will be re- 
membered as sparkling with telling points and a 
burning oratory. 

The whole town revived under his manly strokes. 
The houses and farms and shops and roads and schools, 
which had languished under the blight of intemper- 
ance now took on a new lease of prosperity. 

Many a man headed for the drunkard's grave re- 
versed his steps, thanks to Mr. Woodbury's eloquent 
appeal. Peace be to his ashes ! 

His oft-repeated wish to be buried in Acton, with 
the dear people to whom he had ministered in the 
buoyancy and strength of his best years, has been 
gratified. He sleeps in Woodlawn Cemetery, by the 
granite shaft which he erected in memory of his 
beloved son, James Trask, Jr., by the side of his 
Augusta, as he was wont so fondly always to call her, 



292 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX 



the companion, stay and grace of his entire married 
life. 

Extracts from an ordination charge hy Mr. Wood- 
hury to a young pastor : 

" My Son, I have begotten you in the Gospel, so I call you my son.' 
"Sly Son. 1st. Get your sermons from the Bible, the closet and the 
fields. 

" 2d. Be brief. You are a short man and the people will not expect 
loDg sermons from you, my Son. Unless you deem yourself a very elo- 
quent man. Be brief! be brief! 

"3d. If it rains, let it rain! The rain may do good. If you try to stop 
it, it may rain so much the harder. My Son, let it rain! 

"4th. Throw physic to the dogs! They may not like, but they might 
as w ell have it as yon. You don't need it. Air, exercise, good food and 
plenty of it, are better than physic. Let the dogs have it. 

" 5th. Trust in God and keep your powder dry. If your powder is wet 
it will not be of any use. Trust in God, but you must have dry powder 
or your shooting will not hit the mark. My son, God bless you and 
your people. Amen." 

Reminiscences. — One hot summer morning in July, 
quite early in the day, there was heard a loud shout- 
ing from a carriage which had stopped in the street 
opposite : " I say ! I say I ! I say ! ! ! 

Hurrying to the door, Mr. Woodbury, of Acton, 
some thirty miles distant, was recognized sitting in 
the carriage alone, stripped all hut his pants and 
shirt. He was not expected. His first salutation was, 
"I say! have you any milk?" other questions followed, 
but the first thing to be settled was milk; he was 
thirsty. 

Why Mr. Woodbury liked to live outside the vil- 
lage. "Because," he said, "he could shout as loud 
as he pleased without disturbing his neighbors." 

Why he wore a broad-brimmed hat, loose-fitting 
coat and pants of blue color, carried a blue umbrella, 
instead of black, had boots with sole leather project- 
ing a half-inch beyond the upper leather, drove his 
oxen through the village in a farmer's frock, with 
pants in his boots. Because he had a mind to. 

Why he liked the Acton choir. Because it was a 
large choir and made up of ladies as well as gen- 
tlemen, and Augusta stood for years a prominent 
and graceful singer among them. He got tired of 
this all gander music when in college. 

Deacon John Fletcher w r as born in Acton July 21, 
1790, and died July 1G, 1879, in his ninetieth year. 
He was the son of James, the son of Timothy, the son 
of Timothy, the son of Samuel, the son of Francis, 
the son of Robert, who came from England to Con- 
cord, Mass., in 1630, when thirty-eight years of age. 
He was at the time of his death the oldest person in 
Acton. He was nine years of age when George 
Washington died, and remembered distinctly the 
sensation which that event made throughout the 
country. In his boyhood all the territory west of the 
Hudson was a wilderness. 

He married Clarissa Jones, the youngest of eleven 
children, all but one of whom lived to mature life, 
whose father was Aaron Jones. She died in her sev- 
enty-sixth year (February 8th), after being married 
over fifty years, the mother of seven children. He 



united with the church, together with his wife, No- 
vember 3, 1833, and was for many years one of its 
deacons. 

In his early life he was captain of the Davis Blues, 
and was familiarly called Captain Fletcher. He was 
clerk of the company when it went to Boston in the 
War of 1812. He held the office of special commis- 
sioner for Middlesex County for several years. He 
was for a long period of years the veteran boot and 
shoe manufacturer of this reg'on, and in company 
with his sons, John and Edwin, carried on the busi- 
ness up to the time of his decease. He was consci- 
entious in his dealings with his patrons, stamped his 
name upon his work, and made it good, if at any time 
there was a failure. He was largely interested in the 
general appearance of the Common, in the planting 
of the noble elms which now give dignity and beauty 
to the village, and but for his exertions and those of 
Francis Tuttle, Esq., they would have perished in the 
severe drought of 1840, after they were set out. He 
was interested in the erection of the public buildings 
of the Centre. 

After his former shoe-factory and the old church, 
which was used as a town hall, were burnt, he en- 
couraged the town to rebuild on the old site a new 
and commodious structure, offering to rebuild a shoe- 
factory which should be an ornament to the place, 
which he did as promised. 

As early as 1815 he began an industry in the town, 
which, till within a few years, was of great advantage 
to the material interests. He early espoused the tem- 
perance cause, and became an earnest advocate of the 
principles of anti-slavery. His ardent support of the 
temperance cause cost the loss of a valuable orchard 
in 1843 — destroyed by the girdling of his trees — and 
the same was repeated upon him a few years after- 
wards. When he became convinced that a certain 
course was right he gave himself to it heart and 
hand, with but little regard to the consequences to 
himself. In 1828 he, with his brother James, built 
the homestead, which till recently remained on the 
site now occupied by the Memorial Library. 

Simon Hapgood died in Acton December 21st, aged 
eighty-six years and ten months. He was one of the 
original frunders of the Congregational Society, was 
for nearly forty years an exemplary member of the 
church, and for many years a teacher in the Sabbath- 
school; was one of the earliest advocates of temper- 
ance and emancipation, and was always identified 
with that which is for the best good of the community 
and the world at large. 

Deacon W. W. Davis was born in Harvard March, 
1824; came to Acton April, 1861. He married Mar- 
tha Taylor, of Boston, April 7, 1853. She died De- 
cember 8, 1868. Children : William and Ada. He 
has taught school eighteen terms. In 1861 he repre- 
sented the towns of Boxboro', Littleton, Carlisle and 
Acton in the State Legislature, being what was called 
the War Session. August 3, 1882, he married Abby 




DEA. JOHN FLETCHER. 



t 



ACTON. 



R. Worthiley, of Andover. He has been selectman 
of Acton, two years; School Committee superin- 
tendent, three years; Sabbath-school superintendent, 
fifteen years ; deacon of the Congregational Church 
since 1862. In politics the deacon has been uniformly 
a Republican. He has been a hard-working man, 
greatly improving his farm and lifting from himself 
burdens which at the beginning he had to assume. 

Hon. John Fletcher was the son of Deacon John 
Fletcher; born in 1827. He was of the firm of John 
Fletcher & Sons till his father's death, in 1879. Since 
then he has been in the firm of S. T. Fletcher & Co., 
with his son, Silas Taylor, at 77 Clinton Street, Bos- 
ton. The business is that of butter and eggs commis- 
sion store. Though retiring in his habits, he has 
taken an active interest in public affairs, in parish, 
town and country. He has been chorister twenty 
years; representative to General Court in 1862; in the 
State Senate two years (1870-71); a director in the 
Lowell and Nashua Railroad; president of the Schu- 
bert Choral Union since its organization ; superin- 
tendent of the cemeteries; on the Executive Commit- 
tee of the village improvement, and prominent in his 
activities for the home support of the Civil War. He 
married Martha Taylor, daughter of Silas Taylor. 

Universalists. — The following extracts from an 
able sermon preached by Rev. I. C. Knowlton, D.D., 
at the dedication of the new meeting-house at South 
Acton (1878) are given. In a recent note from Dr. 
Knowlton he adds, " I send you the missing links in 
your sketch of our folks in Acton. I spent much 
time and labor in preparing the sermon from which 
you copy; I cannot go over the ground again. I think 
its statements are all correct." 

The first Universalist sermons were preached in 
Acton by Rev. Hosea Ballard as early as 1814 or 1815. 

January 19, 1816, the first Universalist Society of 
Acton was organized, consisting of eleven members. 

In 1821 and 1822 Rev. Dr. Benjamin Whittemore 
preached one-half the Sabbaths in Acton in halls, 
school-houses and private residences. 

January 27, 1821, the First Universalist Society of 
Acton was legally incorporated. It consisted of fifty 
paying members, two years after of sixty-one and 
eventually of over eighty paying members. 

December 17, 1833, a church of thirty-nine mem- 
bers was formed a3 the result of the labors of Rev. 
Joseph Wright, who, that year, "became pastor of this 
society. 

October 4, 1834, the Boston Association of Univer- 
salists met at Acton. During the next six years the 
religious services were in the First Parish Church 
and well attended. 

June 29, 1836, Rev. Isaac Brown became the resi- 
dent minister of the society and continued in this re- 
lation three years. 

July 4, 1837, Rev. Isaac Brown was formally in- 
stalled a3 pastor of this church with appropriate ser- 
vices. 



293 



In 1842 an attempt was made to resuscitate the 
First Parish by uniting all the elements not affiliating 
with the Evangelical Church. At about this time 
there was a Methodist Church organized and there 
was Methodist preaching for a few years. 

About 1850 our interest there, at Acton Centre, 
peacefully expired. 

From 1850-58 there was no regular Universalist 
preaching in Acton. In 1858 halls were provided in 
South and West Acton, and Rev. J. M. Usher 
preached in these two places for a period of six years. 
The parishes in South Acton and West Acton, al- 
though entirely separate, were started at the same 
time and have always worked together in perfect har- 
mony. The same pastors have officiated in each 
place. Rev. J. M. Usher, an energetic and well-read 
man, was really the founder of both. 

After the retirement of Mr. Usher, in 1864, Rev. 
Edwin Davis became pastor of both these societies 
and continued until April, 1872; Rev. W. W. Har- 
ward, three years ; Rev. N. P. Smith, oue year. Rev. 
I. C. Knowlton, D.D., assumed his charge in October, 
1875, fifteen years, and is still occupying the pulpits, 
with acceptance, in his seventy-first year. 

In 1868 the West Acton Society built, furnished 
and paid for a very pretty and pleasant meeting- 
house, which it has used and greatly enjoyed ever 
since. 

In 1861 the South Acton Society moved into Ex- 
change Hall, a large and handsome auditorium, 
where it worshiped for seventeen years. 

In the spring of 1876 a church of more than thirty 
members was organized at West Acton. Present 
number of members, about sixty in all. 

On February 21, 1878, a handsome and completely 
furnished church edifice was dedicated, with appro- 
priate services, at South Acton. 

Each parish, at the date of this writing, though de- 
pleted by the removal of many of its young people to 
city centres, is enjoying a fair state of prosperity. 
Each meeting-house is pleasant and convenient, kept 
in good repair and occupied every Sunday. 

The Baptists. — The Baptist Church is located at 
West Acton. It was organized July 10, 1846, with a 
membership of twenty-three persons. The present 
membership is over one hundred ; the average con- 
gregations 200. The Sabbath-school has always been 
a flourishing adjunct of the church, now numbering 
one hundred and fifty. They have an attractive 
meeting-house, located centrally in the village, with 
all the modern contrivances to promote the interest 
and profit of the worshipers. They have a large and 
instructive library connected with the society, adapted 
to give general culture as well as religious instruction- 
The following is a list of the pastors and the length 
of their pastorates: Rev. Horace Richardson, seven 
years ; Rev. W. H. Watson, seven years ; Rev. Jacob 
Tuck (2d), three years ; Rev. W. K. Davis, five years ; 
Rev. J. C. Boomer, four years ; Rev. J. R. Haskins. 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



294 



Rev. C. L. Rhoades came to the West Acton Bap- 
tist Church, as its pastor, from the Lexington Church. 
He was a man of great enthusiasm, and during his 
pastorate of four and one-half years his hands were 
filled with work. He resigned in January, 1888, to 
go to the Fourth Street Church, of South Boston. 

Rev. Frank A. Heath came direct from Hamilton 
Theological Seminary and was ordained June 7,1888. 
He is now in the midst of his work, with able and 
liberal assistants in active co-operation, and with 
high hopes of a success in the future exceeding any 
record of the past. Their first meeting-house, dedi- 
cated July 19, 1847, was burned July 2, 1853 ; their 
second meeting-house was dedicated September 19, 
1854. 

Daniel Wetherbee, Esq. (East Acton). — Few 
men have held a more prominent position in Central 
Middlesex. From his youth he was acknowledged 
as a leader. His early education commenced and 
was continued in the old tavern situated on the 
"Great Road" from Fitchburg to Boston, of which 
he became proprietor in later years. Wetherbee's 
Tavern was known from the Canada line to our me- 
tropolis, and was a temporary Mecca of drovers and 
drivers of baggage-wagons for more than half a cen- 
tury preceding the advent of railroads. 

The small stream running through his ancestral 
domains he at once improved and enlarged, till Weth- 
erbee's Mills comprised one of the most important 
points in the illustrated map of the county. Of 
public life he had his full share. He was town clerk, 
assessor and selectman for many years, and five years 
a representative to the Legislature. He was largely 
instrumental in establishing the State Prison at Con- 
cord Junction. He became one of the originators of 
the Lowell and Framingham Railroad, and a perma- 
nent director. He married Clarissa Jones, daughter 
of Abel Jones. He died July 6, 1883, aged sixty- 
eight years, leaving a widow and seven children. 

The American Powder - Mills. — These mills, 
incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts, having 
their business office in Boston, are located in the 
corner of four towns — Acton, Sudbury, Maynard and 
Concord. They cover an area of 401 acres. The 
capital is $300,000. The annual production is in the 
range of $240,000. 

These mills were started by Nathan Pratt, in 1835, 
and they were run by him till 1864; then the prop- 
erty was sold to the American Powder Company, and 
that company was formed by the union of Massachu- 
setts Powder-Mills, located at Barre, Mass., and in- 
corporated under the name of the American Powder 
Company, 1864. 

They did a very successful business, and went out 
of business in 1883, and were succeeded by the Amer- 
ican Powder- Mills. About sixty men are employed 
at the present time. They are doing a large and suc- 
cessful business. 

The patriotic emergencies of Acton have always 



had at hand a bountiful supply of the very choicest 
quality of powder, and at reasonable rates. 

Soutii Agton. — Fifty years ago the principal 
business at South Acton was done at the Faulkner 
Saw and Grist-Mill. 

The houses within a quarter of a mile of the depot 
were those of the tavern, for many years the residence 
of Aaron Jones; the house of Abel Jones, his son, 
across the road opposite, on the hill, and that of Col. 
Faulkner. 

Besides these there was a small school-house, a few 
barns, cooper-shops, stables and out-buildings. Now 
there are over a hundred pleasant residences, a num- 
ber of mills, stores and factories, a fine church, 
assembly hall, chapel, a commodious school-house, 
large store structures, railroad facilities for traffic and 
travel, and a village noted for its comfort and neigh- 
borly and social culture. 

Tattle, Jones & Wetherbee. — On the rise of ground 
facing the Fitchburg Railway track stands the central 
structure of the vicinity — the hub of trade for years 
of this section of country. This firm is composed of 
these gentlemen, in the order of their connection 
with it : James Tuttle, Varnum Tuttle, sons of 
Francis Tuttle, Esq.; Elnathan Jones, a grandson of 
Aaron Jones, and J. K. W. Wetherbee, each marrying 
sisteis of James and Varnum. No other than these 
have ever been in the partnership. The present 
name was adopted February 8, 1867, when Mr. Weth- 
erbee was admitted. Mr. Jones joined about 1852, 
and between these dates it was James Tuttle & Co. 
From 1843 to 1852 it was J. & V. Tuttle. James 
Tuttle began trade on his own account in 1839. A 
year or so here and three at Acton Centre, and he 
was ready to start with his brother at the South Vil- 
lage, which had just been reached by a railroad from 
Boston. Then the lower part of the building now 
occupied by jeweler Baldwin was constructed, a single 
story, with its basement, for the beginning of these 
operations. The house of Mr. James Tuttle is to the 
rear of this enlarged structure. These young men 
of twenty-five and twenty-one started with good 
pluck and with a will to succeed, but with little idea 
of the possibilities of their future. The railroad 
terminus was then at West Acton. All things seemed 
at the time to favor that village. Long after they 
started no little trade went past them to the prosper- 
ous concern of Burbeck & Tenney. That was then 
called Horse-power Village, and this nothing but Mill- 
corner, where merged a half-dozen roads from Box- 
boro', Acton Centre, Westford, Sudbury and Stow. 
That was a stage, this only a saw and grist-mill 
centre. 

In a few years they wen the good start which is 
half the battle. 

In those early days they did a business of $25,000 
per year. This gradually grew until it reached a 
quarter of a million, with appliances to match the 
growth. In 1850 they moved to their new store on 



ACTON. 



295 



the site of the present grocery. This building con- 
sisted of basement, a full story above and an attic 
floor. Shed, carriage-house and barn stretched from 
it back along the Concord pike. 

James Tuttle has always been a shrewd and jolly 
helmsman, and when he set his craft on these waters 
he was bound to steer straight to the destined port. 
This store was burned January 20, 18G6. Within a 
year the restored building was ready for a new launch, 
and it has floated safely on its way ever since. 

The large dry-goods store on the hill was built in 
1860. It is 70 by 38, and GO feet high, with a central 
tower on front. 

Exchange Hall, up three flights from the ground 
at front, has been devoted to public uses from the 
outset. The Universalists worshiped there until the 
new church was occupied in February, 1878. Every 
sort of gathering and entertainment has been held 
within its walls. Its dances, socials, concerts, lec- 
tures, campaign meetings, caucuses and conventions 
have made it well and widely known. 

The prosperity of the firm rests upon its equity, 
Yankee sagacity and thrift. The gentlemen con- 
nected with it, many and various, stand high in the 
regard of their fellow-townsmen. The senior, Mr. 
James Tuttle, has been selectman, assessor, overseer 
of the poor, chairman of committee for building 
school-house, church and other public buildings. 
Mr. Jones has been prominent in town affairs. Mr. 
Varnum Tuttle has been a stanch pillar of the 
chapel enterprise. Mr. Wetherbee has been for fif- 
teen years postmaster at Acton, town treasurer for 
years, which office he still holds ; selectman for many 
years, and trustee and executor of many private 
estates. 

J. W. Tuttle & Sons.— Mr. Joseph Warren Tuttle, 
brother to Francis Tuttle, Esq., was the senior mem- 
ber of this house, and lived in one of the finest man- 
sions at South Acton. The business is a wholesale 
commission. merchant's for the sale of all kinds of 
country produce; office, No. 1(5 and 18 Clinton Street, 
Boston. An honorable and successful career of forty- 
five years has given the house a high standing in 
the great thoroughfares of trade. The business was 
founded in 1843 by J. W. Tuttle. 

In 1848 Mr. George W. Tuttle was admitted to 
partnership, in 1874 Charles Jones, in 1875 Charles 
H. Tuttle, and 1883 Herbert A. Tuttle. 

J. A. Bowen.— The shoddy enterprise at South 
Acton, now in charge of Mr. Bowen, is one of import- 
ance. The privilege and land were first obtained of 
Abel Jones for a woolen-mill during the war, by S. 
S. Richardson, by whom the first dam was erected. 
The amount of the shoddy and extract productions 
for a year is now estimated in the vicinity of $100,000 
per year. The business has been profitable and em- 
ploys over thirty hands. Mr. Bowen, the proprietor, 
is a gentleman of quiet habits, of enfeebled health, yet 
an intelligent, reputable and liberal citizen of the vil- 



lage, whose enterprise in the successful management 
of the interest, and whose generous contributions in 
the way of public improvement are appreciated by 
the community. 

Charles Augustus Harrington. — He was born in 
Shrewsbury, Worcester County, Mass., December 22, 
1814, where he lived the first thirty years. He mar- 
ried, May 81, 1866, Mary J. Faulkner, daughter of 
Colonel Winthrop E. Faulkner. He came from Wis- 
consin to Acton in 1867, and has resided in town 
most of the time since. Though interested in public 
affairs he has never sought or held official positions 
of responsibility except to act as assessor for Acton 
four years. He is an earnest Republican in politics 
and liberal in his support of enterprises for the benefit 
of the community. He has been largely instrumental 
in giving to South Acton its new impetus towards a 
prosperity exceeding all previous records. He built 
his own elegant mansion which overlooks towards 
the west, the Faulkner house and the water scenery 
of the " Big Brook," and the fine mansion recently 
built on the western and northern slopes of the vil- 
lage; the retreating low-lands of the New England 
settlement are also seen in the distance, with clusters 
of comely dwelling-houses. 

The thirty daily incoming and departing trains 
which pass on the Fitchburg Railroad help the ef- 
fectiveness of this panorama of beauty as seen from 
the windows of Mr. Harrington's home. He has re- 
built and enlarged the Faulkner Mills, put in an ice- 
house, store-house, barn and an elevator for the flour 
and grain business at an expense of $17,000. He re- 
built the piano-stool factory which was burnt Novem- 
ber 9, 1886, putting in steam at an expense of $10,000. 
The estimated productions of this factory, run by Mr. 
Chadwick, annually are $75,000, which are shipped 
to all States east of the Mississippi and to Canada. 

At the grain and flour-mills, now in charge of F. J. 
Hastings & Hezzleton, a very heavy business is now 
carried on. No place in this region has a more com- 
plete stock for feed, fertilizing, garden seeds, farming 
tools; flour comes in and goes out by the car-load. 
It is the heaviest grain business between Waltham 
and Fitchburg; estimated annual amount, $150,000. 

The Acton Light Infantry was organized in 
1805 and then consisted of forty-one members, includ- 
ing officers. The following gentlemen previous to 
1830 commanded this company: Paul Brooks, Simon 
Hosmer, Abijah Hayward, Silas Jones, James Jones, 
Aaron Hayward, Jonathan Hosmer, John Fletcher, 
John Handley, Jr., Simon Davis, Abel Furbush, 
George W. Tuttle and Thomas Brown. 

The following is the list of town clerks : Thomas 
Wheeler, 1735-36; Simont Hunt 1737-43; Jonathan 
Hosmer, 1744-55; John Davis, Jr., 1756-57; Jona- 
than Hosmer, 1758-61; Francis Faulkner, 1762-96; 
Aaron Jones, 1797; John Edwards, 1798-99; David 
Barnard, 1800-07; John Robbins, 1808-17; Joseph 
Noyes, 1818; John Robbins, 1819-20; Joseph Noyes, 



296 



1821; Abraham Conant, 1822; Francis Tuttle, 1823- 
27; Silas Jones, 1828; Stevens Hay ward, 1829; Fran- 
cis Tuttle, 1830. 

Deacon Ephraim Robbins and Asa Parlin, Esq., 
were of Carlisle when it was a district of Acton. 

Captain Daniel Fletcher was chosen a delegate to 
the convention in Boston, 22d September, 1768 ; 
Francis Faulkner and Ephraim Hapgood to the Pro- 
vincial Congress in Concord, October, 1774 ; Josiah 
Hay ward to Cambridge, February, 1775, aud again in 
May ; Francis Faulkner to the convention in Cam- 
bridge, for forming the Constitution, September, 1779; 
Captain Joseph Robbins to the convention in Con- 
cord, to regulate the prices of articles of produce, etc., 
October, 1779; Simon Tuttle and Thomas Noyes to 
Concord 23d of May, 1786; and Asa Parlin to the 
convention in Boston in 1788, to ratify the Constitu- 
tion of the United States. 

Representatives.— Nathan Brooks, 1836, 1837, 
1838, 1840; Phineas Harrington, 1841-42; Ivory 
Keyes, 1843,1846; Daniel Wetherbee, 1844, 1845, 
1848, 1853, 1857 ; Rev. James T. Woodbury, 1850-51 ; 
Moses Hay ward, 1852; Joseph Noyes, 1854; Aaron 
C. Handley, 1855, 1863; William D. Tuttle, 1856; 
John Fletcher, ' 1861 ; Luther Conant, 1866, 1886; 
George W. Gates, 1870 ; George C. Wright, 1873 ; 
Moses Taylor, 1881; Charles Wesley Parker, 1884; 
Aaron C. Handley, 1889; Daniel Fletcher, 1768; 
Josiah Hay ward, 1774-75 ; Mark White, 1776 ; Simon 
Hunt, 1780; Francis Faulkner, 1782, 1785 ; Thomas 
Noyes, 1787, 1789; Ephraim Robbins, 1790; Jonas 
Brooks, 1791, 1802; Asa Parlin, 1803; Jonas Brooks, 
1804; Samuel Jones, 1805-06 ; Jonas Brooks, 1807-11 ; 
Stevens Hay ward, 1812; Joseph Noyes, 1813-18; 
Joseph Noyes, 1821; Francis Tuttle, 1823-27; 
Steven Hay ward, 1828-29; Francis Tuttle, 1830-31. 

Forty-four years during the ninety-five since incor- 
poration the town was not represented in the General 
Court. 

Senators. — Stevens Hayward, 1844, 1845; Win- 
throp E. Faulkner, 1853, 1854; John Fletcher, 1870, 
1871. 

Town Clerks.— Francis Tuttle, Esq., 1830-32, 
1834, 1835 ; Silas Jones, 1832-33; J. W. Tuttle, 1836, 
1838; Daniel Wetherbee, 1839-54; William D. Tut- 
tle, 1855. 

Graduates of College. — Nathan Davis, son of 
Samuel Davis, born November 30, 1737 ; graduated at 
Harvard College 1759 ; ordained minister at Dracut 
20th November, 1765; dismissed in 1785; removed to 
Boston and was appointed chaplain at Fort Indepen- 
dence, and a review officer; died March 4,1803, 
aged 65. 

John Swiff, born November 18, 1741 ; graduated in 
1762; settled as a physician in Acton ; died in 1775. 

Asa Piper, son of Josiah Piper; graduated in 1778, 
and was crdained at Wakefield, New Hampshire, 
1785; was a retired pastor in that place after leaving 
his pastoral charge. 



Solomon Adams, son of Lieutenant John Adams ; 
born March 18, 1761; graduated in 1788; ordained 
pastor at Middleton, October 23, 1793; died Septem- 
ber, 1813, aged 53. 

Daniel Brooks, graduated in 1794 ; settled as a 
trader in Westmoreland, where he held the office of 
justice of the peace ; died at Springfield, Vermont. 

Thomas Noyes, son of Thomas Noyes, born Febru- 
ary 5, 1769; graduated in 1795; ordained pastor of 
Second Church in Needham, July 10, 1799; dis- 
missed in 1833, after a faithful discharge of his 
official duties thirty-four years. To his clerical 
brethren he set an example of diligence, punctuality 
and perseverance. As a preacher he was respectable, 
grave and sincere, practical rather than doctrinal. He 
brought beaten oil into the sanctuary. He was a de- 
scendant of the Puritans and a consistent Congrega- 
tionalist. 

Luther Wright, born April 19, 1770 ; graduated in 
1796 ; ordained pastor of the First Parish in Med- 
way, June 13, 1798 ; dismissed September, 1815 ; in- 
stalled at Barrington, Rhode Island, January 29, 
1817 ; dismissed July 5, 1821 ; he resided at Holliston 
afterwards. 

Moses Adams, son of Rev. Moses Adams; born 
November 28, 1777 ; graduated in 1797 ; settled as a 
physician in Ellsworth, Maine, and was sheriff of the 
county of Lincoln. 

William Emerson Faulkner, son of Franc's Faulk- 
ner, Esq. ; born October 23, 1776 ; graduated 1797 ; 
read law with his brother-in-law, the Hon. Jabez 
Up ham, of Brookfield, with whom he formed a part- 
nership in business; he died October 1,1804, aged 
28, and left a most worthy character. 

Josiah Adams, son of the Rev. Moses Adams ; born 
November 3, 1781 ; graduated in 1801 ; read law with 
Thomas Heald, Esq. ; was admitted to the bar, June, 
1807, and settled in Framingham. He delivered the 
Centennial address in 1835. 

Luther Faulkner, son of Francis Faulkner ; born 
May 7, 1779 ; graduated in 1802; was a merchant in 
Boston. 

Jonathan Edwards Scott, a native of Nova Scotia; 
a resident in Acton before he entered college ; grad- 
uated in 1802 ; commanded a vessel at sea. 

Joseph Adams, sou of Rev. Moses Adams; born 
September 25, 1783; graduated in 1803; settled as 
an attorney in West Cambridge ; died June 10, 1814. 

John Buggies Cutting, son of Wihiam Cutting; 
graduated at Dartmouth College, 1802; ordained at 
Waldoborough, Maine, August, 1807; dismissed 
March, 1812, and was afterwards a teacher of youth. 

Henry Durant graduated at Yale College, 1828; was 
a tutor in Yale ; all these, excepting the two first and 
the last, were prepared for college under Rev. Mr. 
Adama. 

Bee. James Fletcher.— He was born in Acton, Septem- 
ber 5, 1823, and was the son of Deacon John and 
Clarissa Jones Fletcher. He fitted for college at 



ACTON. 



Leicester Academy, Massachusetts, and New Ipswich 
Academy, New Hampshire. He graduated at Dart- 
mouth College in 1843, at Andover Theological Sem- 
inary in 184G, and was a resident licentiate a year ; 
pastor of the Maple Street Congregational Church, 
Danvers, fifteen years ; principal of the Holten High 
School, Danvers, five years ; of Lawrerice Academy, 
Groton, six years ; of Burr and Burton Seminary, 
Manchester, Vt., three years. He has taught forty- 
nine terms in all ; been committeeman eighteen 
years and superintendent of schools six years. He 
married in Andover, Mass., October 10, 1849, Lydia 
Middleton, daughter of Rev. Henry Woodward, mis- 
sionary to Ceylon, granddaughter of Prof. Bezaleel 
Woodward, of Dartmouth College, and adopted 
daughter of Hon. Samuel Fletcher, late of Concord, 
New Hampshire. 

George O. Parker. — He was born in Acton, June 19, 
1826. He was the oldest son of Asa Parker and Ann 
Margaret (McCaristone) Parker. He fitted for college 
at Lawrence Academy, Groton, and Appleton Acad- 
emy, New Ipswich, N. H. He taught school in Ac- 
ton and elsewhere. He graduated from Union College, 
New York, in 1852 ; studied law at the Albany Law 
School, New York, and was admitted to the bar of 
that State. 

In 1856 he settled in Milford, Mass., and was ad- 
mitted to the Worcester Co. bar, where he has since 
practiced. For many years he has been chairman of 
the Board of School Committee of Milford, senior 
warden of the Trinity Episcopal Church, Milford. 
In politics he was a Republican, but joined the Gree- 
ley party in 1872, was a member of the Cincinnati 
Convention of that year, and represented the Demo- 
cratic party in the Legislature in 1876. December 
26, 1854, he married the eldest daughter of Rev. 
James T. Woodbury, Augusta. Their child, Marga- 
ret Augusta, died at Milford in 1861. 

William M. Parker, M.D. — He was born in Acton, 
June 15, 1828, son of Asa Parker and Ann Margaret 
(McCaristone) Parker. He acquired a thorough aca- 
demical education, and entered the Berkshire Medical 
Institution at Pittsfield, and graduated in 1853. He 
practiced in Shutesbury about five years. He there 
served as a member of the School Committee. From 
1856 to 1860 he was surgeon of the Tenth Regiment 
of Massachusetts militia. In 1858 he removed to 
Milford, and there followed his profession till his 
death, March 1, 1883. He was a member of the 
Massachusetts Medical Society and of the Massachu- 
setts Medico-Legal Society, and at the time of his 
decease was State Medical Examiner in Worcester 
County. He was married June 25, 1872, to Miss 
Emma T. Day, whose death preceded his own by 
about six months. He left his only child, Lillian 
Blanche, to Mr. and Mrs. George G. Parker, by whom 
she was adopted. The Milford historian, Mr. Ballou, 
speaks of his social standing as being in accord with 
the doctor's eminence as a physician and citizen. 



Hon. Henry L. Parker. — He «was born in Acton. 
He was the son of Asa Parker and Ann Margaret 
(McCaristone) Parker. He graduated at Dartmouth 
College in 1856. He was admitted to the bar of 
Worcester County in 1859, and commenced the prac- 
tice of law at Hopkinton, Mass., and was trial justice 
for about three years ; removed to Worcester in 1865, 
where he has been in practice since. 

In 1886 and 1887 he was representative to the Gen- 
eral Court from Worcester. In 1886 he was a mem- 
ber of Committee on Probate and on Drainage. In 
1887 he was chairman of Committee on Probate. In 
1889 and 1890 he was Senator from the First Wor- 
cester Senatorial District. In 1889 he was member 
of Judiciary Committee and chairman of Public Ser- * 
vice. In 1890 he was appointed chairman of the fol- 
lowing Committees: Judiciary, Rules, Election Laws 
and Special Elections. In Worcester was six years 
a member of the School Board. For the past two 
years he has been president of the Worcester County 
Horticultural Society and senior warden of St. 
Mark's Episcopal Church, also member of the Board 
of Associated Charities. 

Rev. Ephraim Hapgood, son of John and Clara 
Hapgood, graduated at Brown University in 1874, 
pursued theological studies at Newton Theological 
Seminary ; was settled in Seward City, Nebraska. 

Rev. Josiah W. Brown graduated at Dartmouth and 
Andover Theological Seminary. 

Edward F. Sherman. — Born at Southeast Acton, 
graduated at Dartmouth College in 1843, and prac- 
ticed law in Lowell. The miils at Southeast Acton 
called the Sherman Mills. 

Luther Jones, M.D. — He was the son of Silas Jones, 
and graduated at Dartmouth College in 1841. 

Eben H. Davis. — He was born in Acton, 1840. He 
was the son of Eben Davis. He graduated at Kim- 
ball Union Academy in 1857, and at Dartmouth Col- 
lege in 1861. He took a course at the Harvard Law 
School, and then entered upon his life-work, that of 
teaching. He was principal of the Belmont High 
School, and was then elected, in 1869, superintendent 
of the schools in Nashua, N. H., where he remained 
a year and a half, when he resigned and became the 
superintendent of the schools in Woburn, which 
position he held for thirteen years, and has been 
superintendent of the schools in Chelsea six years. 
He has made a specialty of primary methods in teach- 
ing, has written for educational magazines, both in 
the South and in the Northeast, has lectured in several 
States at Institutes, and is now editing a series of 
readers, in behalf of the Lippincott Publishers. 

Julian A. Mead, M.D. — 'He was born in Acton ; the 
son of Oliver W. Mead. He was fitted for college at 
Exeter, ' N. H ; graduated at Harvard College and 
Harvard Medical School : studied over two years in 
the medical schools and colleges of Europe, and is now 
in active practice in Watertown, Mass. 

George Herman Tuttle, son of George Tuttle ; pre- 



298 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



pared for college at Concord High School ; gradu- 
ated at Harvard, 1887 ; has been one year at the Med- 
ical University of Pennsylvania ; one year at Harvard 
Medical School. 

Frederick Brooks Koyes, son of T. Frederick Noye3, 
has graduated from Andover Theological Seminary, 
and nearly completed his course at Harvard Univer- 
sity. 

Physicians. — Dr. John Swift, son of the minister, 
was the first physician. 

Dr. Abraham Skinner was from Woodstock, Conn., 
and commenced practice in Acton in 1781, where he 
died, April 16, 1810, aged 53. He married Sarah, 
daughter of Francis Faulkner, Esq., 1788. 

Dr. Peter Goodnow was from Bolton ; commenced 
practice in Acton 12th October, 1812 ; left February 
18, 1827, and was afterwards a merchant in Boston. 

Dr. Bela Gardner resided here from 1823 to 1828 ; 
removed to Vermont. 

Dr. Harris Cowdry, born at South Reading ; grad- 
uated at the Berkshire Medical Institution, 1824 ; 
commenced practice in October, 1826. 

Paul C. Kitfridge, from Littleton, commenced prac- 
tice in Acton August 30, 1830. 

Harris Cowdry, M.D., was born at South Reading 
(now Wakefield), Mass., September 23, 1803. He 
studied with Dr. Hunt, of that place, and graduated 
at the Berkshire Medical School, Pittsfield, Mass. 

At eighteen he applied himself to the vocation of a 
nurse, and in this work he acquired a taste for the 
medical profession. He entered upon this pursuit 
with the greatest enthusiasm. He grappled bravely 
with the obstacles that met him at the outset of his 
profession, and soon took a front rank. 

In choosing a field for practice, several places were 
in mind. The fruits which abounded in Acton, even 
at that early date, attracted his notice, and here he 
determined to locate. Possibly, other attractions may 
have helped his decision, for, in due time, he found a 
helpful companion in Miss Abigail Davis, daughter 
of Eben Davis, a native of Acton. Here he practiced 
his profession for nearly half a century — nearly the 
average life of two generations. 

The country in Acton and the adjacent towns is 
but sparsely populated, and his rides were long and 
fatiguing. 

As a physician he was faithful and conscientious 
to all — both rich and poor. With the latter he was 
attentive and sympathizing, and in his charges leni- 
ent. The case of each patient he made an especial 
study. He was continually gathering up improved 
methods of practice from medical works and from 
the experience of friends, not allowing his mind to 
run in ruts. 

As a general practitioner he excelled. Others in 
the profession may have been his superiors in some 
special branches, but for the varied work to which he 
was called, few have been hu equals. As he entered 
the sick-room he brought a cheerful countenance and 



a happy style of conversation, inspiring confidence, 
both in the patient and attendants. He was fond of 
children, and apt in discovering and treating their 
ailments. 

He was an early member of the Evangelical Church 
of Acton, and its firm supporter to the end. He was 
a reformer, zealous in the cause of temperance and 
anti-slavery. 

He was interested in education ; a superintendent 
of the schools sixteen years, and chairman of the 
School Committee at the time of his death. He was 
fond of music, and, however pressing his professional 
cares, seldom was he missed from the village choir, 
seldom even from the rehearsal. 

He was an ardent patriot. As a specimen of the 
man at the outbreak of the Rebellion, his letter to 
Captain Daniel Tuttle, dated May 1, 1861, is here 
given : 

" You can't tell what an anxious night we spent 
after the telegraph had flashed it up to South Acton 
that the Sixth Regiment had been attacked in Balti- 
more. We are proud of you, and, more than that, 
we are glad the friends of freedom the world over 
know of your noble bearing. 

" We know if the South don't back down, and there 
comes a fight, the Davis Guards will do their duty 
bravely and well. 

"If prayers and tears can help you, be assured you 
have them all. You never saw such a town-meeting 
as we had last Saturday. We are ready to do any- 
thing for the soldiers." 

He was one of those few men who never grow old. 
He was in his seventy-third year during that last 
winter campaign. His locks were silvery, but his 
step was elastic, his eyes flashed with the fire of early 
manhood, and he dashed through the streets, on his 
way to the sick, whether the call came by day or 
night, in sunshine or storm. 

He died, as he wished, with the harness on. That 
Centennial Day at old Concord, April 19, 1875, was 
too much for him. The severity of that raw, chilly 
day gave him a fatal attack of influenza, from which 
he died, after a short but painful sickness, May 6th. 

More died from the exposures of that day than 
from the original 19th, a hundred years before, and 
Dr. Cowdry was one of these patriotic martyrs. 

He had two children : Arthur H. Cowdry, a suc- 
cessful physician in Stoneham, Mass.; Mrs. Helen 
Little, widow of Charles Little, M.D., whose active 
professional life began in Acton in 1866, and his mar- 
riage to Dr. Cowdry's only daughter soon after, and 
his death at the age of thirty-thiee, after a promising 
but brief professional career. 

Charles Little, M.D. — Dr. Little was born in Bos- 
cawen, N. H. ; graduated at Dartmouth College in 
1860, and received his medical degree in the same in- 
stitution in 1863; died November 16, 1869, thirty-two 
years old. During the same autumn he entered the 
navy as assistant surgeon, where he remained until 



X 




DR. HARRIS COWDRY. 



ACTON. 



299 



the close of the war. Unwilling to enter upon a 
private practice without a more thorough preparation 
for his work, he passed the winter of 1865-66 at the 
College of Physicians and Surgeons, and at the hos- 
pital in New York. He commenced his active pro- 
fessional life at Acton in the spring of 1866, and soon 
after married the only daughter of Dr. Harris Cowdry, 
of Acton. 

Dr. Little was a good classical scholar, and had an 
excellent knowledge of the minutia? of his profession. 
His practical career, though short, was long enough 
to give him a place in the confidence of the people, 
and betoken a useful and successful career. He was 
modest in his manners, but outspoken for the right. 
In the home circle he was be9t appreciated. He was 
a genial husband, brother and friend. His end was 
peaceful and like a summer's cloud. 

John M. Miles, M.D. — He was bom in Temple, 
N. H. His father was a minister in Temple for sev- 
eral years, where he died. He married a daughter of 
Josiah Taylor, of Temple. He was educated at a 
medical college. He practiced in Boxboro' and Lit- 
tleton and settled in Acton in 1843, and practiced 
here until his death, March 22, 1865, aged sixty-three 
years and five months. 

Isaiah Hutchins, M.D. — He was born in Westford, 
Middlesex County, Mass., September 23, 1829 ; lived 
on his father's farm in Groton till eighteen years of 
age. His education was in the public schools and 
Lawrence Academy at Groton. He entered the office 
of Dr. Walter Burnham, of Lowell, as a student in 
the study of medicine, and graduated from the Wor- 
cester Medical Cdllege in 1852, and the same year 
began the practice of medicine at West Acton, and 
for most of the time since has continued in it at the 
same place. 

He was in the Union army during the nine months' 
campaign, acting assistant surgeon most of the time 
in the same regiment, Sixth Massachusetts, during 100 
days' campaign as second lieutenant Company E. He 
married a daughter of Alden Fuller, West Acton. 

Charles Barton Sanders, M.D., born in Lowell, 
Mass., February 19, 1844. He received his early edu- 
cation in the common school at Berwick, Me., and at 
Berwick Academy, South Berwick, Me. Enlisted as 
private August 11, 1862, in Rollingsford, N. H., 
and served with the Thirteenth New Hampshire 
Volunteers (being promoted to corporal) until 
March 1, 1864, when he was discharged by orders 
of the War Department to receive commission as 
first lieutenant in the United States colored troops, 
and was assigned to the Thirtieth Regiment; 
was through the Wilderness campaign and was 
taken prisoner July 30, 1864, at the battle of 
" Crater," front of Petersburg, and was confined in a 
rebel prison at Columbia, S. C, seven months. Mus- 
tered out of service December 10, 1865, having served 
as adjutant of regiment from 1st of June, 1865. Re- 
ceived medical education at Harvard and Bowdoin 



June 1, 1869. His early years of practice were in 
Lowell. In July, 1875, he located at Acton Centre. 
September 4, 1878, he married Elizabeth Taylor, 
daughter of Moses Taylor, Esq. 

Lawyers. — Samuel Jones, Esq., resided here as an 
attorney in 1805-06, but left the town and died in the 
South. 

Ferdinand Adolphus Wyman, Esq. — He was born in 
Waltham, Mass., December 28, 1850. He is a prac- 
ticing lawyer, resident in Hyde Park, which place he 
represents for the second term in the Massachusetts 
Legislature. He was educated in the schools of West 
Acton. He was assignee of T. Shaw & Brothers, the 
extensive leather manufacturers, and as assignee or 
trustee ha9 settled other large estates. He was ad- 
mitted to the Suffolk bar in 1886. He is a member of 
the House Committee on Railroads. 

A. A. Wyman, Esq. — Mr. Wyman's full name is 
Alphonso Adelbert Wyman ; he was born in West 
Acton January 29, 1862. He was educated in the 
common schools of Acton and Lawrence Academy, 
Groton ; he entered Phillips Exeter Academy, 
1875 ; graduated at the head of his class of thirty in 
1879. He was president of the Golden Brand, a 
literary society founded in 1817. He was managing 
editor of the Exonian, a school paper, and he was 
class historian by unanimous choice of his class. In 
1879 he entered Harvard College, from which he 
graduated with honors in 1883. He was one of 
twenty-five in a class of 200 elected to the Phi Beta 
Kappa, holding the highest rank in scholarship. In 
December, 1883, he began the study of law in the of- 
fice of Henry W. Paine and William Varen Vaughan, 
20 Washington Street, Boston, and was admitted to 
the Suffolk bar in June, 1885, since which time he 
has been engaged in the practice of his profession in 
Boston and West Acton. On July 28, 1886, he was 
married to Laura Aldrich, and his residence has been 
in West Acton. 

Francis C. Nash, Esq., a native of Maine, gradu- 
ated at Tufts College, 1863 ; admitted to practice in 
Maine in 1866, and was in active practice in the 
Maine courts for several years. He opened an office 
in Boston (54 Devonshire Street) in 1880, residing at 
West Acton, at the homestead of Mr. John Hapgood, 
whose daughter Clara he married. He has been on 
Board of School Committee as chairman and superin- 
tendent of schools in Acton, and held other positions 
of trust. 

Mrs. Clara Hapgood Nash, daughter of John and 
Clara Hapgood, was admitted to practice before the 
Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, October, 1872. She 
was the first lady admitted to the practice of the 
court, in which she was for several years in co- 
partnership with her husband. She was, before her 
law practice, a teacher in public schools, was for a time 
an assistant principal of the Danvers High School. 

Charles B. Stone, Esq. — He was admitted to the 
Suffolk bar February, 1890. 



800 



From Shattuck's History of Concord. — A 
post-office was established in 1828, and Silas Jones, 
Esq., was postmaster. 



Appropriations : 



Object 


1751. 


17G0. 


177). 


1780. 


1790. 


180ri. 


1810. 


Minister 


£50 


£52 


£70 


£3562 


80 


353 


353 


Schools 


13 


12 


24 


2000 


49 


833 


450 


Roads 


26 


70 


6') 


800 


120 


400 


600 


Incidental 


20 


12 


80 


1000 


100 


5U0 


10,000 



In 1826 the aggregate time of keeping schools was 
28 months, attended by 412 pupils, (227 males, 185 fe- 
males) ; 139 under 7 years, 160 from 7-14 and 113 from 
14 upwards. 

In 1825 there were 2 carding-machines, 2 fulling- 
mills and 4 saw-mills ; valuation, $862,928. 

Barrels were the staple production of the town, 20, 
000 estimated as the annual production. 

The population in 1764 was 611 ; in 1790, including 
Carlisle, 853 ; in 1800, 901 ; in 1810, 885 ; in 1820, 1047; 
in 1830, 1128. 

In 1821 there were 140 dwelling-houses, 230 other 
buildings, 513 acres of tillage land on which were 
raised 705 bushels of rye, 932 of oats, 5833 of corn, 
75 of barley, 140 of beans; 1527 acres of mowing 
land, producing 956 tons of hay ; 2026 acres of pas- 
turing, keeping 939 cows, 196 oxen ; 2055 acres of 
wood, 3633 acres of unimproved, and 1311 unimprov- 
able ; 240 used as roads and 500 covered with water. 

It then had 3 grist-mills. 

Miscellanies. — The dark day, so called, was May 
19, 1780. Joseph Chaffin died in 1836, eighty-four 
years of age. Solomon Smith, the father of Luke, 
died July 25, 1837, aged eighty-four. One hundred 
and thirty-two dwelling-houses in South Acton in a 
range of a mile from the centre of the village ; 109 
in West Acton ; 60 in the centre. Seventy thousand 
barrels of apples are shipped from West Acton per 
year. Between eight and nine thousand barrels are 
raised within a mile of Acton Centre and of the 
choicest quality and variety. 

Quarry Works in North Acton. — This enter- 
prise has opened under the management of David C. 
Harris and John Sullivan, with encouraging pros- 
pects. They already do an extensive business, send- 
ing their granite as far west as Nebraska, and as far 
south aa Pennsylvania. The granite has a peculiar 
merit in its tint, fineness of grain and durability, and 
gives a growing satisfaction to those who have tried 
it. 

It most resembles what is known as the Concord, 
N. H., granite, though in some respects it is thought 
to be superior to that. 

The granite has been known for quite a number of 
years. 

A part of the monument at Lexington came from 
this quarry, and was drawn by oxen. 

The Great Blow — It came Sept. 23, 1815. From 
"Our First Century," byR. M. Devens, in the article 
relating to the gale, is the following statement: 



"In the little town of Acton the damage amounted 
to forty thousand dollars. 

" This gale was severe at the Centre, blowing down 
several of the horse sheds around the meeting-house. 
It came from east and weut to the west. It was es- 
pecially severe among the forests on Myers hill oppo- 
site the residence of Charles Bobbins, in the east part 
of the town. It is remembered by several now living, 
and they have never forgotten the scene of falling 
forests." 

The area of Acton is 12,795 acres. Its valuation in 
1886, $1,286,089. Its population by the last State 
Census in 1885 was 1785 ; dwelling-houses, 413. The 
number of children between the ages of 5 and 15 in 
1889 was 267. In 1885 there were 190 farms, the pro- 
duct of which was $209,533. The product of the 
dairies, $77,065. Hay, straw and fodder, $50,132. 
Vegetables, $19,417 ; 29,756 fruit trees, 1467 neat 
cattle, 240 horses. Aggregate of goods in 1885, $332, 
345. Valuation in 1888, $1,310,947. School property, 
$22,600. Two thousand volumes in the West Acton 
libraries ; 4000 volumes in William A. Wilde's Me- 
morial Library. The general healihfulness of the 
climate is well established by the records of the past. 
Fatal epidemics have been rare. Seldom have the 
years been marked with prevailing sickness. 

The average longevity for the last 26 years includ- 
ing those dying in infancy, has been 44 years and 6 
months. This may be taken as an approximate aver- 
age for the entire history of the town. Longevity has 
always been a feature of the locality. 

During these 26 years the average number of deaths 
in town has been 30; the total, 789. Those reaching 
60 years, 289; those reaching 70 years, 211; those 
reaching 80 years, 98 ; those reaching 90 years, 14. 
The highest age reported is that of Mrs. Mehitable 
Piper, 101 years and 2 months, March 25, 1872. She 
was the wife of Silas Piper. 

From Shattuck's " History " we learn that during the 
twenty years subsequent to 1800 there were published 
208 intentions of marriages, and there occurred 161 
marriages, 344 birtli3, 302 deaths, of whom 72 died 
under one year old, 32 were 80 and upwards, 8 were 
90 and upwards and one lived 99J. The average 
number annually was 15, about one in 70 of the whole 
population. The mean average age was 35. 

Longevity. — The causes explaining this longevity 
are not obscure. They may be found in the frugal 
habits of the people. ; in the tonic air of the hills ; in 
the pure water of the springs ; in the excellent drain- 
age of the low lands, by means of running brooks and 
larger streams; in the variety of the soil, fertile 
enough to encourage a diligent culture; in the land- 
scapes ever present and ever shifting to accommodate 
the moods of the resting or laborious hours ; in the 
vicinage of the ocean, near enough to enjoy its cool- 
ing baths in the heat of summer, and distant enough 
to escape the extreme chill of the more vigorous 
months. 



ACTON. 



301 



DEATHS OF THE OLDEST PERSONS. 

Benjamin Brabrook, April 27, 1714; James Brabrook, died at Nova 
Scotia, Fort Lawrence, May 8, 1750 ; Samuel Brabrook, died at Reuisford 
Island, July 14, 1766 ; Francis Baker, 1816 ; Isaac Davis, Sr., 1740 ; Jolin 
Davis, died in Littleton, Oct. 6, 1763 ; Ebeuezer Davis, died March 5, 
1755; John Edwards, died Sept, 25, 1760 ; Nathaniel Edwards, April 0th, 
about 1800, 8li years old; Dea. Joseph Fletcher, Sept. 1,1746; Animi 
Faulkner, Aug. 4, 175G, 04 years ; Jonathan Hosmer, Jr., Oct. 1, 1777 ; 
Ephraini Hapgood and Nathaniel, lost in a vessel at sea coining home 
from Maine, Nov. 1, 1780; Samuel Jones, Nov. 29, 1796; l'liineas Os- 
good, on Daniel Tuttle place, Dec. 27, 1752; Samuel Prescott, July 25, 
1758 ; George liohbius, July 24, 1747; Nathan Bobbins, June 7, 1764; 
Thomas Smith, Slay 10, 17T.8 ; David Stimson, Sept. 25, 1740; Daniel 
Shepherd, Sept. 15, 1785 ; William Thomas, Sept. 20, 1790 ; Joseph 
Wheeler, June 27, 1750 ; Ensign Mark White, Oct. 5, 1758; Abraham 
Wood, Feb. 20, 1760 ; Jacob Wood, March 7, 1769 ; Hezekiah Wheeler, 
May 5, 1750, supposed to be grandfather to Josiah D. Wheeler; Joseph 
Wooley, June 24, 1787 ; 1823, James Billings, on Perkins' place, 74 
years; 1824, John White, 64; David Forbusb, May 19, 1803, 85; 
Titus Law, Feb. 10, 1801, 84 ; Dorothy Bobbins, widow of Nathan, July 
9, 1802, 93; Joseph Piper, Dec. 19, 1802, 85 ; Sarah, widow of Samuel 
Jones, Dec. 29, 1802,80; Simeon Hay ward, June 5, 1803, 48; Lieut. 
John Adams, Oct. 30, 1803, 87 ; Stephen Law, Nov. 7, 1784, 77 ; Francis 
Faulkner, Esq., 77, Aug. 5, 1805 ; Widow Sarah Cutting, Dec. 25, 1805, 
97; Lucy Hunt, wife of Dea. Simon, March 31, 1808,71, ; Esther Piper, 
■widow of Joseph Piper, April 27, 1810, 85 ; Catharine Davis, widow of 
Simon, Jan. 3, 1810, 81 ; Dr. Abraham Skinner, April 17, 1810, 54 ; 
Lieutenant John Heald, Oct., 1810, 90; Thomas Wheeler, Nov. 17, 
1810, 65 ; Ephraini Hosmer, Nov. 17, 1811, 89 ; Rebecca Faulkner, 
widow of Francis, Esq., 76, April 3, 1812 ; Deacou Joseph Brabrook, 
April 28, 1812, 73 ; 1813, Phillip Bobbins, Feb. 6, 73 ; 1813 Samuel 
Wright, March 2, 87 ; 1813, Captain Joseph Brown, Aug. 9, 61 ; 
1813, Boger V\ heeler, Dec. 30, 77 ; 1814, Lieut. Simon Tuttle, April 21, 
80 ; 1814, Lieut. Henry Duraut, May 0, 40 ; 1814, Capt. Zedekiah Smith, 
in the Army, May 13, 45 ; 1814, Silas Brooks, Aug. 11, 68 ; 1814, John 
Harris, Nov. 20, 80 ; 1815, David Davis, Sept. 16, 72 ; 1816, John Hunt, 
April 4,78; 1816, John Shepherd, May 27, 04; 1800, Capt. JoBeph 
Bobbins, March 31 ; 1816, Capt. Daniel Davis, Dec. 7, 07; 1817, Samuel 
Wheeler, April 5, 82; 1817, Capt. Stevens Hayward, Oct. 6, 66 ; 1817, 
John Hundley, Dec. 12, 81 ; 1819, Benjamin Wild, in Boston, Aug. 2, 
56; 1819, Thomas Law, March 20, 78; 1819, Abraham Hapgood, April 
6, 66; 1820, Ezekiel Davis, Feb., 68; 1820, Dea. Simon Hunt, April 28, 
86; 1820, Oliver Jones, Aug. 11, 82; 1820, Daniel Brooks, Aug. 25, 82; 

1821, Joseph Barker, April 12, 99; 1821, Nathaniel Faulkner, July 2, 
85 ; 1821, John Robbius, Dec. 31st, 00; 1821, Dea. John Wheeler, 56 ; 

1822, Josiah Bright, 63; 1822, Jonathan Hosuier, July 10, 87; 1822, 
Smith Foster, 67 ; James Marsh, 71; 1822, Lieut. Thomas Noyes, Nov. 
19, 82 ; 1824, Joseph Brooks, 74; 1824, David Barnard, 64 ; 1824, Samuel 
Hayward, 82 ; 1824, Jonathan Billings, died in Concord, 85 ; 1824, John 
Wheeler, 64; 1825, Stephen Chaffin, 65 ; 1825, Jonas Brooks, 78 ; 1825, 
Joel Willis, 44; 1826, Samuel Temple, 74; 1827, Benjamin Brabrook, 
85 ; 1827, Israel Bobbins, 82 ; 1827, Samuel Parliu, 80 ; 1827, Quartis the 
colored man, 61 ; 1827, William Eeed, 85 ; 1828, Ephraini Forbush, 72; 
1828, Nathan Wheeler, 57 ; 1828, Robert Chaffin, 76 ; 1829, Nathan 
Brooks, 56 ; 1829, John Lamson, 89 ; 1829, John Hunt, 01 ; 1829, Theo- 
dore Wheeler, 52 ; 1830, Joel Hosmer, 60 ; 1830, Beuben Davis, 76 ; 1831, 
Seth Brooks, 91 ; 1831, Calvin Houghton, 78 ; 1831, Joseph Barker, 87 ; 
1831, John Reed, 73 ; 1831, James Fletcher, 43 ; 1832, Elias Chaffin, 
77 ; 1832, Jonathan Davis, 80 ; 1832, Elijah Davis, 82 ; 1832, John Hay- 
vaid, 69; 1833, Thomas F. Lawrence, 52; 1833, Daniel Holden, 60; 
1833, Abel Couant, 87 ; 1834, William Cutting, 80 ; 1834, Ephraini Bil- 
lings, 83; 1834, Aaron Hayward, 48; 1834, John Faulkner, 73; 1835, 
Capt. Seth Brooks, 91 ; 1S35, Moses Fletcher, 50 ; 1835, Lemuel Dole, 
54; 1836, John D. Robbius, 58; 1836, Jonathan Fletcher, 64 ; 1836, 
Aaron Jones, 82 ; 1836, Joseph Chaffin, 84; 1836, John Robbins, Esq., 



74; 1836, Daniel Taylor, 65; 1836, Luther Wright ; 1837, Moses 
Woods, 87 ; 1837, Solomon Smith, 84 ; 1837, Amos Noyes, 72 ; 1838, 
Deacon Phineas Wheeler, 05; 1838, Ebeuezer Barker, 73 ; 1838, Silas 
Piper; 1838, Benjamin Hayward ; 1839, Nathaniel Faulkner, 73; 1839, 
David Barnard, 45 ; 1839, Peter Fletcher ; 18.(9, Jonathan Powers; 1840, 
Capt. John Handley, 54 ; 184(1, Simon Hosmer; 1840, Daniel F. Barker ; 
1810, John Oliver ; 1841, Jonathan Billings, the clock maker, 64 ; 1841, 
Reuben Wheeler; 1841, Joseph B. Chamberlain ; 1811, Daniel White ; 
1841, Ephraini Brooks; 1841, Peter Haynes ; 1841, Hannah Leighton, 
92; 1842, Jonas Wood ; 1842, Abel Proctor, 87; 1842, John Wheeler; 
1843, Paul Conant; 1844, Luther Robbins, 41; 1844, Samuel Hand- 
ley; 1844, William Stearns; 1845, Moses Faulkner; 1846, Animi F. 
Adams, 79; 1846, Charles Handley, 87; 1846, William Reed, 68; 1847, 
Danforth Law, 44; 1847, Amos Handley, 75; 1847, John Chaffin, 68; 
1848, Samuel Hosmer, 86, Revolutionary soldier; 1828, Amos Law, 61 ; 

1848, John S. Fletcher, 67 ; 1848, Ebeuezer Robbins, 60 ; 1848, Jonathan 
Wheeler, 61 ; 1849, Ephraini Hapgood, 67 ; 1819, Allen Richardson, 63 ; 

1849, Nathaniel Stearns, 61; 1849, Joseph Barker, 74; 1849, Thomas 
Thorp, 94; 1850, Joseph Brown, 44: 1851, Nathaniel G. Brown, 70; 
1851, Nathan Wright, 60; 1851, Ebenezer Davis, 74; 1852, Tilly Rob- 
bins, 79; 1852, SilaB Holden, 58; 1853, Daniel Wetherbee, father of 
Piiineas, 66 ; 1853, Daniel Barker, 79 ; 1854, Nathan D. Hosmer, 83 ; 
18o4, Joseph Harris, father of Daniel, 85; 1854, Henry Woods, 79; 
1855, Ebenezer Barker, 53 ; 1855, Jonathan Barker, 78 ; 1855, Asa Par- 
ker, 63 ; 1855, Luther B. Jones, 67 ; 1856, Dr. Charles Tuttle, 87 ; 18 T 6, 
Abijah Oliver, 86 ; 1856, Ebenezer Smith, 81 ; 1856, John Handley, 
father of David M., 93; 1856, Solomon Smith, 61 ; 1858, Beuben Bar- 
ker, 72; 1859, Paltiah Brooks, 77; 1859, Eli Faulkner, 79; 1859. Silas 
Piper, 67; 1860, Francis Piper, son of Josiah, 80; 1860, Dea. John 
White, 75; 1861, Silas Jones, 74; 1861, Edward Wetherbee, 79; 1861, 
Jedidiah Tuttle, 67; 1861, Abraham Conant, 77; 1862, Cyrus Wheeler, 
59; 1802, Joel Oliver, 84 ; 1863, John Harris, 88; 1863, Joseph Bra- 
brook, 83; 1863, Reuben Wheeler, Josiah D.'s father, 81; 1863, Joel 
Conant, 75; 1863, Abel Bobbins, 71; 1864, Simon Tuttle, 71; 1861, 
James Keyes, 89 ; 1864, William Beed, father of Moses' father, 83 ; 
1865, Dr. John M. Miles, 63 ; 1865, George W. Robbins, son of Philip, 
84; 1865,CharleB Robbins, 79; 1866, Lulher Conant, 80; 1867, Ivory 
Keyes, 62 ; 1868, Hon. Stevens Hayward, 81 ; 1868, Jonathan B. Davis, 
78; 1868, Luther Davis, 81 ; 1869, Dr. Peter Goodnow, died in Boston, 
80 ; 1870, Cyrus Putnam, 72 ; 1870, Amos Handley, 70 ; 1872, Mehitable 
Barker Piper, 101-2-1, March 25 ; 1872, Abel Jones, 88 ; 1872, Dea. Silas 
Hosmer, 80 ; 1872, Jonathan Hosmer, 86 ; 1872, Simeon Knights ; 1873, 
James Harris, 68 ; 1873, Abel Farrar, 76 ; 1873, Elnathan Jones, 78 ; 
1863, William Reed, 69 ; 1874, Silas Taylor, 80; 1874, Nathaniel Hap- 
good, 89; 1874, George Robbins, 90; 1874, Simon Hapgood, 86; 1875, 
Alden Fuller. 77; 1875, Dr. Harris Cowdry, 72 ; 1876, Itbamar Parker 
78 ; 187", Amos Cutter, 88 ; 1876, Oliver W. Drew, M.D., 78 ; 1876, Mrs. 
Eliza, w ife of Elnathan Jones, 79; 1876, Samuel T. Adams, 79; 1876, 
Mrs. Susan Abel Forbush, 76; 1877, Francis Tuttle, Esq., 86; 1877, 
Rufns Tenney, 82; 1877, Dennis Putnam, 82 ; 1878, Mrs. Harriet Tuttle, 
widow of Francis Tuttle, Esq., 82 ; 1878, Nathan Chaffin, 77 ; 1878, 
Thomas Taylor, 72; 1878, Silas F. Bowker, 83; 1878, Miss Submit 
Wheeler, 75; 1879, Daniel Jones, 66; 1879, Dea. John Fletcher, 89; 
1879, Mrs. Sarah B. Stearns, 85 ; 1879, Jeremiah Hosmer, son of Amos 
and Susan, 85; 1879, Mrs. Harriet Davis, 82; 1879, Levi Chamberlain, 
72 ; 1879, Ruth Dole, 96; 1879, Mrs. Myra T. Miles, 74 ; 1880, Ebenezer 
Wood, 87 ; 1880, Jonathan Wheeler, 89 ; 1880, Peter Tenney, 81 ; 1880, 
Col. Winthrop E. Faulkner, 74 ; 1880, Mrs. Ruth Hager, 91 ; 1880, 
Mrs. Lucy Noyes, 66; 1880, Mrs. Betsey Chaffin, 87; 1880, William 
Davis, 89 ; 1881, Nathan Brooks, 81 ; 1881, Mrs. Ruth C, wife of Joseph 
P. Reed, 73 ; 1881, Abel Forbush, 84 ; 1881, Mrs. Betsey H. Adams, 86 ; 
1881, Aaron Fletcher, 80; 1881, Joseph P. Eeed, 73; 1881, Jonathan A. 
Piper, 73; 1881, James W. Wheeler, 69 ; 1882, Joseph Wheeler, 85; 
Jonas Blodgett, 71; 1883, Tilly Bobbins, 81; Daniel Wetherbee, 68 ; 
1884, Simon Hosmer, 84 ; 1887, Robert Chaffin ; 1888, David M. Handley, 
86; Cyrus Barker, 85. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 



HENRY SKINNER. 

We are fortunate in being able to secure 
this memento of the past, in tbe portrait of 
Mrs. Skinner's husband. It is an excellent 
presentation of tbe man as he appeared in 
early manhood. He was a genial, cultured 
gentleman ; fond of reading, though not a 
graduate of college ; moving in tbe choicest 
circles of society; quiet in his style, but 
buoyant and active. 

He went to Brookfield, when a youth, to 
act as clerk in a store. The storekeeper told 
him never to find fault with the butter which 
the customers brought for barter, but simply, 
upon examining its quality, to tell them how 
much he would give them. 

His father, Dr. Abraham Skinner, died in 
1810, when Henry was obliged to return to 
Acton, and, in company with his brother, 
Francis Skinner, for a while had charge of 
the farm. The homestead and farm were 
afterwards owned by Charles Tuttle. 

Dr. Skinner built the house on this site in 
1794, which, in its day, like that of Mrs. 
Skinner, built about the same time, ranked 
among the most elegant in town. 

The wife of Dr. Abraham Skinner was a 
Miss Coit, from Marlboro'. He had a large 
medical practice for years. Dr. Skinner's 
father was noted as a violinist. He could 
play on the violin and jump through a win- 
dow and not break the time or the tune. 

Francis Skinner, the brother of Henry, 
was a noted merchant in Boston, and became 
quite wealthy in trade, and was generous in 
his treatment of his brother's widow. 

Mrs. Skinner tells this anecdote of her ' 
husband, after locating in business in An- 
dover: "A friend of Mr. Skinner, Mr. Kid- 
der, said to him, one day, ' Now, Skinner, you 
ought to be married ; and I wish to make 
you this proposition : If you will get married 
within a year, you shall have my house, rent 
free, for a year ; but if you don't get mar- 



ried within a year, you shall give me one of 
your best carpets for my new house.' Upon 
tli is," Mrs. Skinner said, " he came right over to 
Acton and got married. He could not afford 
to lose the rent of that house a year, any 
way," said Mrs. Skinner, smilingly. 

Mr. Skinner was noted, while a trader in 
Andover, for his earnest temperance princi- 
ples. He was in full sympathy with Dr. 
Edwards, of Andover, who was at that time, 
stirring the whole community with his appeals 
for a reform. 

Among his papers is this quaint agreement, 
signed by Mr. Skinner, showing his style of 
work in this line : — 

" This is to Certify, That Henry Skinner agrees to 
give Rogers Blood cloth to make a good coat, provid- 
ing he does not drink any rum. gin or brandy, wine or 
any kind of intoxicating spirits, for twelve months 
from this day (Andover, July 20, 1828), and Blood is 
to forfeit ten dollars if he does not abide by this 
agreement. Signed in presence of John Berby, who 
promises to make the cloth into a coat for Mr. 
Blood if he obtained it in the aforesaid way." 

The autograph appended to the portrait 
of Mr. Skinner, here presented, was cut from 
this agreement. 

Mr. Skinner dying before tbe fulfilment of 
this obligation, there is this additional state- 
ment : — 

Andovek, April 10, 1830. 
Received of Josiah H. Adams, administrator, six 
dollars, in full the within obligation, by me. 

Rogers Blood. 

Mr. Skinner was active in exertions to 
repress the liquor traffic in Andover, urging 
the rumseller to stop, and in some cases secur- 
ing pledges to that effect. His early death 
was a great public calamity as well as a pri- 
vate grief. 



JOSEPH BRABROOK. 

He was the father of George, Alfred, Sarah, 
and Benjamin. His fine engraving, presented 
to the public in this history of Acton, is that 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



of a man who had some notable features of 
character worthy of special remembrance. 
He was an honest man. So all the records 
prove ; so all the reminiscences of the man 
reported by his most familiar contemporaries 
affirm. He was honest in large trusts ; his 
honesty went down also into the minutiae of 
life equally sure. If he had made the mis- 
take of a cent in trade with the storekeeper 
anywhere in town, his first steps were directed 
back to the man with whom the mistake had 
been made, and his conscience was uneasy till 
full satisfaction had been given. The wit- 
nesses who rise up in judgment on the man 
all agree. Says one : "If there ever was an 
honest man in the town of Acton, Joseph 
Brabrook was that man." 

His integrity was impressed upon the memo- 
ries of his fellow-townsmen as vividly as the 
clear outlines of the beautiful eminence on 
which has stood for nearly a century and half 
the Brabrook homestead. Thanks to his son 
George, we have a permanent reminder of all 
the good qualities of his father and family 
and ancestry associated with that structure in 
the life-like engraving of the artist. It is a 
fitting tribute of a loyal son to a worthy 
father. The noble elm to the left in the 
landscape is of the same age with Alfred, 
another son. This cluster of elms around 
the Brabrook house, like the other notable 
elms in town, are typical illustrations of the 
nobility of the men who planted them and 
lived and died under their shade. 

The house itself, though built in 1751, w as 
put together from cellar to ridgepole with 
Brabrook thoroughness, and it stands to-day 
unlocked by the roughest winds that sweep 
over the heights. 

Mr. Brabrook was a cooper, and made bar- 
rels in the winter, and the Brabrook stamp 
was enough to carry them forthwith into and 
out of the market. He raised hogs, and there 
were no cleaner or better hogs in town. He 
did not let them revel in their trough after 
dinner, but invented an arrangement for lift- 
ing it at once out of their reach till the next 



meal was ready. He raised peaches, and they 
were of the best quality, and had the real 
Brabrook flavor. The canker worms at one 
time made their raid upon his peach orchard. 
He met them at their first outset, and said, 
" Those worms are not to eat my peach 
orchard," and off went the branches. A 
new and better growth soon repaid for the 
trimming. 

He was a man of moderate size ; not large, 
nor tall, not demonstrative, not loud spoken 
on the streets or elsewhere, but efficient in 
bringing about sure results. He lost no time 
at the loitering places of the village. If he 
took his oxen to the blacksmith's to be shod, 
and Blodgett said, " Please wait a few min- 
utes, and I will attend to your case shortly, 
Mr. Brabrook," he at once started them on 
their homeward beat, saying, "I will come 
again," and he would do it, a second and a 
third time if necessary. He was a peaceable, 
careful, reverent man. He kept up his habit 
of asking 1 a blessing at the table in his latest 
life, even when his voice could scarcely be 
heard by him who sat nearest at the table. 
Silas Conant, Sr., heard one of his last utter- 
ances. It was this: " O God, we thank thee 
for this food that is set before us ; we thank 
thee kindly for Christ's sake." 

He was devoted to his family. He had an 
efficient, worthy companion in his wife, whose 
energy and wisdom aided him essentially in 
accomplishing the grand issue of his life- 
work. 

His quiet, faithful ministries in her last 
painful and prolonged sufferings are remem- 
bered, and have endeared his name to a large 
circle of appreciating neighbors. His chil- 
dren rise up at the remembrance of his life 
on the Hill, and call him blessed. He died 
February 15, 1863, aged eighty-three years 
and six months. His wife, Sally, died Decem- 
ber 17, 1847, aged sixty-five years and six 
months. 

Two Brabrook brothers were here as early 
as 1669. 

Thomas married Abigail Temple, daughter 



ACTON. 



3 



of foichard Temple, in 1009, and died in 
1092. Joseph, from whom those hearing the 
name descended, married Sarah Graves, in 
1672, and had one, Joseph, who married Sarah 
Temple, and died in 1719. He was father to 
Benjamin and grandfather to Deacon Joseph. 

Second, John, who died a soldier at Lan- 
caster, in 1705. Several daughters. 

James, died at Fort Lawrence, in Nova 
Scotia, in 1756. 

Benjamin Brabrook, the father of Deacon 
Joseph Brahrook, was second lieutenant of 
Company 5, Third Regiment of Militia, 
March 7, 1780. John Heald, first lieutenant : 
Simon Hunt, captain. He died January 14, 

1827, aged eighty-five. 

Joseph Brahrook was chosen deacon Sep- 
tember 29, 1775, and died April 28, 1812, 
aged seventy-three, holding the office thirty- 
seven years. Anna Brahrook, widow of 
Deacon Joseph, died March 2, 1816, aged 
seventy-five. 

Joseph Brahrook, the son of Benjamin and 
Dorcas, was born March 24, 1738. Benjamin, 
son of Benjamin, was horn Jnly 12, 1741. 
Benjamin Brabrook, son of Benjamin, was 
married June 6, 1773. 

Joseph Adams Brabrook, son of Joseph, 
Jr., and Sally, was born Novemher 18, 1806. 
Benjamin F. Brahrook, son of Joseph, Jr., 
and Sally, was born September 15, 1809. 
Sarah Appleton Brabrook, daughter of Joseph 
and Sally, born Novemher 29, 1826. George, 
son of Joseph and Sally, born November 9, 

1828. Alfred. 

Benjamin was a Baptist minister, and 
preached with efficiency, but died young. 



BRADLEY STONE. 

He was born Sept. 4, 1801, in Chesterfield, 
N. H. His father's name was Joel, and his 
grandfather's Peter. He came to West 
Acton when a young man, and established 
himself as a blacksmith, and soon exhibited 
an originality and versatility of talent which 
inspired great hopes of his future success. 



Sept, 29, 1828, he married Clarissa Hos- 
mer, daughter of Nathan and sister of Mrs. 
John Hapgood, recently deceased. She was 
born March 11, 1804. She has been a bold, 
patient, cheerful helper and companion all 
his days. She lived with him uncomplain- 
ingly in the little schoolhouse at the cross- 
roads till he built the brick house on the 
corner, where they lived ten years. She was 
efficient in housekeeping, cooking at one time 
for thirty men when the railroad was in 
process of construction. She looked after 
the sick of the village during the long period 
of its growth, still caring for the same after 
her strength failed. 

They have journeyed happily together for 
more than sixty years, and are now stepping 
down the declivities with sprightliness, hand 
in hand, ready for the Master's call. They 
must be the oldest couple in town, the hus- 
band in the eighty-ninth and the wife in the 
eighty-sixth year. 

The names of their children are here 
given : George Henry, born in Concord, June 
1, 1829, died June 24, 1856 ; Mary Ann H., 
born in Acton, May 2, 1831; Edwin, born 
Dec. 31, 1834, died April 27, 1886; Nathan 
Hosmer, born Oct, 4, 1838, died March 1, 
1874; Clara E. Stone, born Aug. 27, 1842; 
Charles Bradley Stone, born July 17, 1848. 

From the very construction of his mind he 
has been an enthusiast in every line of work 
or improvement which he has undertaken. 
He has watched with zest signs of progress 
in the village of his adoption. He built the 
first store, and when the merchandise came 
too tardily from the metropolis, he projected 
the Fitchburg Railroad. His genius and 
pluck, combined in sharp rivalship with that 
of Colonel Faulkner at the South, insured the 
success of the enterprise. 

His first thought was a new route and 
road-bed to the city, but this finally yielded 
to a railroad charter from the Legislature, 
which was carried by the combined forces of 
the projectors. Then the question was — 
which village shall have the depot? This 



4 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



was at first decided in favor of the South, 
then the decision reversed in favor of the 
West, then the compromise by which both 
secured the advantage. The West was, how- 
ever, for quite a period, the distributing cen- 
tre for the country beyond in all directions, 
far and near. 

The fire still kindles with its old lustre in 
the eye of Mr. Stone as he tells the story of 
this railroad contest, in which he was so con- 
spicuous a figure. 

He has been, from the beginning, a warm 
advocate of the temperance cause, of the 
schools, and of the government. His first 
vote, Democratic, was cast for General Jack- 
son as President, but during the Fugitive 
Slave Bill excitement he became a Republi- 
can, on which side he has voted most of his 
public life. He watches with an old man's 
eagerness the recent developments of growth 
in his vicinity, and is sure of a future 
for the village and the town as a whole Which 
will rival all the past. 



GEORGE CLEAVELAND WRIGHT. 

He was born Jan. 7, 1823, in Bedford, 
Mass. His father, Joel Wright, lived in Box- 
boro'. His mother, Dolly H. Reed, was born 
in Littleton, Mass., and afterwards taught 
school in Boxboro'. George lived in Box- 
boro' from the age of fifteen to nineteen years, 
when he learned the shoemaker's trade, at 
which he worked for nine years, the first two 
years in employ of Deacon John Fletcher, of 
Acton, and the rest of the time in business 
for himself at West Acton. 

December 31, 1846, he married Susan H. 
Davis, daughter of Jonathan B. Davis, grand- 
daughter of Simon Hosmer and grandniece 
of Captain Isaac Davis, who was killed at 
Concord fight. 

Four of their children lived to grow up. 
born as follows : Estella M. Wright, Decem- 
ber 20, 1849; George S. Wright, July 13, 
1857; Fine R. Wright, June 13, I860; T. 
Bertha Wright, June 5, 1866. 



At the age of thirty-one, after being in the 
milk business in Charlestown and Boston two 
years, he engaged in the coffee and spice 
business as a member of the firm of Hay- 
ward & Co., which, after twenty-five years of 
successful business, united with Dwinell & 
Co., and soon afterwards with Mason & Co., 
making the firm of Dwinell. Hayward & Co., 
the largest coffee and spice house in New 
England. Though always an equal partner 
in every respect, he has never asked to have 
his name attached to the firm-name. 

For the past thirty years he has been the 
coffee buyer of the firm, and his frequent 
trips to the New York markets have made 
him personally known to most of the promi- 
nent coffee men of this country. 

As a coffee buyer he has few equals and 
no superiors. With the courage of his con- 
victions, hacked by a most thorough knowl- 
edge of the statistical position of the article 
in question, he has shown his right to the 
foremost position in his department of the 
business; notably so in the rise of 1886-87, 
when the Brazilian coffees advanced in one 
year more than 250 per cent, in value. 

From small beginnings the firm of Dwinell, 
Hayward & Co. has seen a healthy and legiti- 
mate growth, and to-day distributes the prod- 
ucts of its extensive factory, located at the 
corner of Batterymarch and Hamilton Streets, 
Boston, in almost every State and Territory 
this side the Rocky Mountains. 

Mr. Wright is strictly a self-made man. 
Without rich or influential friends to help, he 
has won for himself a position in the business 
world that any man might envy and few 
attain, and he bids fair, at the age of sixty- 
seven, to enjoy for many years the compe- 
tency that he so well deserves. 

Early in his successful career, 1861, he 
secured for himself a worthy home on the 
brow of the hill overlooking the village of 
West Acton, and which commands a glorious 
view of the surrounding country. Here his 
children grew up, and here he still resides. 

He has been prominently identified with 



ACTON. 



the Universal ist Parish in West Acton, and 
was one of three to contribute a large sum 
toward the erection of its present meeting- 
house. 

In all the village and town improvements, 
Mr. Wright has always shown a lively inter- 
est and a generous help. 

Lyceum and temperance, school and library, 
have found in him a firm friend and a most 
liberal patron. 

In the Legislature of 1874, he represented 
the towns of Acton, Way land, and Sudbury 
as a Republican, with credit to himself and 
with satisfaction to his constituents. 

Though a Republican in politics, Mr. 
Wright has never hesitated to work and vote 
for principles, not party — for men, not ma- 
chines. 



MOSES TAYLOR. 

He was born in Acton, April 16, 1822. 
He was the son of Silas Taylor and Sophia 
Hapgood, who were married April 11, 1820. 
She was the daughter of Ephraim and Molly 
Hapgood, and was born February 13, 1792, 
and died March 10, 1869. Silas Taylor came 
from Boxboro' to Acton, and bought of Moses 
Richardson the estate situated where Moses 
Taylor now lives. The house then standing 
was unpainted, with a roof running down in 
the rear. There was a well-sweep and an 
oaken bucket in front. The chimney was 
made of flat stone, laid in clay and twelve 
feet square. It stood on that site for over a 
hundred years. The new house was built by 
Mr. Silas Taylor. The old site was known 
as the Barker place, Joseph Barker (2), 
originally. 

Mr. Silas Taylor, the father of Moses, was 
a man of rare sense and wit, of great physi- 
cal power and endurance, a laborious and 
saving man, and accumulated for those times 
great possessions. He was a soldier of the 
war of 1812, and served at Sackett's Harbor 
on Lake Erie, receiving a pension for the 
same in his later life. He was kind to the 



poor, and in his quiei way befriended many 
in embarrassed circumstances. He was 
favored in the Companionship for forty-nine 
years of a woman of rare modesty, judgment, 
and grace. 

The grandfather of Moses Taylor was 
Silas Taylor, a resident of Stow, formerly of 
Watertown. He commanded a company from 
Stow in the battle of Bennington, Vermont, 
August 16, 1777, and was present at the 
capture of Burgoyne. He was for many 
years a justice of the peace in Stow, and 
town clerk, and did most of the marrying 
and other town business. 

The sword which he carried at Benning- 
ton, as also the sword carried to South Boston, 
by Captain Silas Jones in 1812 war, have 
recently been presented to the Memorial 
Library of Acton, by Moses Taylor. 

He was educated in the common schools 
of Acton, and in addition attended the 
Academ} r at Ashby two terms. He had the 
offer of a liberal education by his father, but 
chose rather the homestead farm, whose acres 
he still cultivates to the full measure of his 
strength and beyond measure. 

June 18, 1846, he Avas married, by Rev. 
James T. Woodbury, to Mary Elizabeth 
Stearns, daughter of Nathaniel Stearns, of 
Acton, formerly of Waltham. She was born 
in Littleton, November 5, 1825. Her mother 
was Sophia Hammond, the daughter of Mary 
Bigelow, of Weston — of the old Bigelow 
stock. 

Mr. Taylor, though a busy, hard-working 
man upon the farm, has ever taken a deep 
personal interest in public affairs, having 
earnest convictions upon all subjects Avhich 
engaged his attention. In politics he has 
been a Whig and Republican. In 1882 he 
was elected by his district of towns, including 
Acton, Concord, Littleton, Stow and Box- 
boro', as a Republican, to the Legislature. He 
has been justice of peace thirty years in suc- 
cession, beginning in 1840. 

He has been an ardent friend of the mili- 
tary, having held commission in the Davis 



6 



HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. 



Guards as fourth, third, second, first lieuten- 
ant and captain, which he resigned 1857. 
Otherwise he would have been in position to 
command at the outbreak of the Rebellion. 
He was deputy marshal to enroll soldiers 
during the Rebellion. He took tbe United 
States census of Littleton, Stow, Boxboro', 
and Acton in 1870. 

He built or remodeled the following houses 
at the Centre. Dr. Sanders', the parsonage, 
Mrs. Rouillard's, Reuben Reed, Lyman Tay- 
lor's, the two new structures at the east of 
the Common, formerly the Fletcher home- 
stead, where the library now stands. 

When the project of building the library 
was pending in the mind of Mr. Wilde, rather 
than have the project fail, Mr. Taylor came 
forward w ith his thousand dollars and cleared 
tbe grounds for the structure. He has been 
parish collector at times, and on the Parish 
Committee for over forty years, and a mem- 
- her of the choir, with his wife and children, 
most of the time. He is the oldest member 
of the Board of Trustees of the Memorial 
Library, having been selected by Mr. Wilde 
as a member for life in the charter of incor- 
poration. 

Mr. Silas Taylor, the father of Moses, died 
January 28, 1874, aged eighty years and 
seven months. Sophia Taylor, sister of 
Moses, born March 8, 1821; died August 5, 
1839, aged eighteen years, four months and 
twenty-seven days. Martha Taylor, sister of 
Moses and wife of Hon. John Fletcher, born 
March 8, 1829, and died August 14, 1882, 
aged fifty-three years and live months. Silas 
Taylor, .Jr.. brother of Moses, born April 2, 
1825, and died March 18, 1844, aged eigh- 
teen years and sixteen days. 

Children of Moses and Elizabeth: Silas 
Hammond Taylor, born March 25, 1847, mar- 
ried Mary Thompson, of Oxford, Nova Scotia. 
Children of Hammond and Mary: Mary 
Elizabeth Taylor, Moses Taylor, Martha Tay- 
lor, Marion Celeste. 

Moses Emery Taylor married Clara Tuttle, 
daughter of Edward Tuttle. Children of 



Emery and Clara : Carrie Elizabeth, Wilmot 
Emery, Simon Davis. 

Lyman Cutler Taylor married Addie Tut- 
tle, daughter of Capt. Daniel Tuttle. Chil- 
dren of Lyman and Addie : Grace EveLyn, 
Eula Sophia. 

Lizzie Sophia Taylor married Charles B. 
Sanders, M. D. Children of Lizzie and 
Dr. Sanders : Ralph Barton, Richard Stearns, 
Helen Elizabeth. 

Mary Etta Taylor married Charles Pickens. 
Children of Mary Etta and Charles Pickens ; 
Carl Pickens, Effie Eloise Pickens. Mrs. 
Pickens married, after tbe decease of Mr. 
Pickens, Edward Wetherbee Conant, son of 
Winthrop F. Conant. 

Simon Davis Taylor, son of Moses and 
Mary Elizabeth, born November 2, 1855 ; 
died. Arthur William Taylor, born Novem- 
ber 13, 1863. Charles Carlton, son of Moses 
and Mary Elizabeth, born October 4, 1868. 



SIMON BLANC HARD. 

He was born in Boxboro', January 29, 
1808. He was the son of Simon, who was 
the son of Calvin, who was the son of Simon. 
He married, April 23, 1849, Elizabeth Dix 
Fletcher, daughter of Jonathan Fletcher. 
She died July 28, 1874. The children by 
this marriage are here given : William, born 
April 3, 1850, died February 15, 1877 ; Ellen 
Ann, born September 13, 1851, married Janu- 
ary 1, 1873, Calvin M. Holbrook ; Elizabeth 
Fletcher, born October 31, 1856, married 
Amasa Knowlton; Mr. Blanchard, April 15, 
1877, married his second wife, Susan Wheeler, 
daughter of Abner Wheeler. 

Mr. Blanchard lives on one of the choicest 
landscapes of the northwest corner of the 
town, towards Littleton, in a comfortable two- 
story farmhouse. It is in a neighborhood 
of well-cultured farms and orchards. He 
has occupied the same site for fifty-one years. 
His steady, industrious habits have made 
their impress upon the homestead and all the 
surroundings. If lie has not held com- 



Luther Conant 



Luther Conant who died on January 11 at the age of 98 
at his home in Norwalk, Conn., was at the time of his death 
the oldest alumnus of MIT having been graduated from that 
institution in 1895. Rev. James Maclntyre conducted the 
funeral service for Mr. Conant in our church on Sunday after- 
noon, January 17. 

Luther Conant was born in the Conant farmhouse just 
north of; Acton Center and was the 7th generation of his 
family to live in that house. His father was the town 
moderator for 40 years. The Conants were all active in 
our church and one of our stained glass windows was donated 
by Luther Conant' s grandparents, 
i 

Following a newspaper career with the Journal of Com- 

rcerce and The Wall Street Journal, Luther Conant became 
■ i ' ' 

Deputy Commissioner of Corporations in Washington, D. C, 
and in 1912 was appointed Commissioner by President Taft. 
,Ke served for many years with the National Industrial Con- 
ference Board and was the author of "A Critical Analysis 
of Industrial Pension Systems." Even in his late years he 
kept up £ regular correspondence with many members of the 
family. \ 

He J.s survived by a son, Luther Conant, Jr., in West- 
port, Connecticut and by two grandchildren. We remember with 
gratitude all that he and his family contributed to the life 
of our church and to our community. 



Acton' 8 First Ecumenical Communion 

As a part of the celebration of the week of Christian 
Unity, the Acton Clergy Association is sponsoring an 
ecumenical communion service this Sunday evening, Janu- 
ary 31, at the Church of the Good Shepherd at 7:00 PM. 
The church is on the corner of Newtown Road and Arling- 
ton Street. The Rev. Arthur Walrasley, executive secre- 
tary of the Mass. Council of Churches, will deliver the 
sermon. The service of communion will be conducted by 
the clergy of the community and they will use the 
liturgy designed by the Committee on Church Unity (COCU) 
which is proposing a church union for nine of our Ameri- 
can denominations. The proposal is still in the study 
stage. The Sunday night service will give us all a 
good opportunity to worship using the "new order". 

Our lay representatives in the service are Marion 
Armstrong, Carol Lake, Charles Rogers and Larry Faulkner. 
Our ministers will also participate. 

Deacons Organize for 1971 

All nine deacons were present along with the two 
ministers on Monday, January 25, when they held their 
first meeting of the new year at th«a parsonage. They 
spentsome time getting acquainted and the new deacons 
each gave a short presentation at the minister's request. 
Marion Armstrong, who has been a member of the church 
longer than any other deacon, told of some of the events 
in the past. Larry Faulkner, the youngest deaccn 



ACTON. 



missions and moved in circles of public 
notoriety and struck the pavements with his 
dashing steeds, he lias maintained his integrity, 
deserved titles which he might ha ve had for 
the asking, and reached a venerable age, receiv- 
ing the confidence and regard of the com- 
munity, among whom he has lived in peace 
these many years. 



Mr. Blanchard has been a Whig and Re- 
publican in politics, a Baptist in his religious 
faith, and a man of order, sobriety, and good 
sense in all his public and private relations. 
His countenance beams with intelligence and 
good fellowship, and is itself a benediction 
which we are happy to have where it can be 
of service to the public. 



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